July 22, 2014

Suder: ‘Confident’ mining bill will prevent Illinois-like case

It’s been revealed that the owner of Gogebic Taconite, which wants to build an iron ore mine in Northern Wisconsin, is in hot water by officials in Illinois over a coal mine there. Illinois environmental regulators say the billionaire’s firm is dragging its feet in a clean-up agreement.

Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) is not concerned about similar issues if GTAC moves forward in Wisconsin. Suder said the Illinois situation is different as the firm is “cleaning up a problem that existed before they came in,” whereas the Superior-area proposed mine is a new project that must meet a host of environmental standards.

Suder and a group of Assembly Republicans met with reporters this morning, prior to the start of debate over a bill to reform the permitting process for iron mines.

To prevent a marathon back-and-forth over the contentious bill, which critics say is too lax with environmental regulations, debate is limited to 9.5 hours at which time a vote will take place.

Representative Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) is hoping everyone stays “composed” when things wrap up: “This bill is going to pass. We certainly don’t need any drama at the end of session; this bill is far too important for that.”

After Assembly approval, the legislation will head to desk of Governor Walker who has strongly endorsed it.