February 11, 2016

Poll claims waning public support for mining bill

As lawmakers get set to vote on proposed mining legislation, a new poll indicates the bill is losing support among Wisconsin voters

The survey done by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters found opposition to a Republican-backed mining bill has grown in the past year. The League’s Anne Sayers says the more people learn about it, the more they dislike the legislation. The poll found 62 percent of voters are opposed to the current bill, with just 29 percent supporting the proposal.

The poll of 911 Wisconsin voters was conducted earlier this month and had a margin of error of +/- three percent. The League opposes the bill, although Sayers notes the survey was random and sampled residents from across the state.

Sayers says the poll also found 78 percent of respondents opposed capping the fees the DNR can collect from mining companies during the permitting process. Current language in the bill limits those fees to $2 million.

Many also voiced concerns about the role a possible mine operator has played in writing the bill, after legislative documents showed Gogebic Taconite gave input on language in the proposal before it was even made public. Sayers says 77 percent of respondents were concerned about the company’s ties to the process.

The state Senate is poised to vote on the mining bill Wednesday.

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