Leaders in the state legislature believe an open pit iron-ore mine in northern Wisconsin is part of the solution. However, Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) says lawmakers shouldn’t cave in to pressure from the mining industry to weaken state laws without considering the consequences.
“Tourism is a very important industry in our state. Tourism is dependent on clean water, clean air, fishable streams and so we don’t want to sacrifice one industry for another; we don’t want to sacrifice our environment because that’s one of the things that brings people to our state — the recreational opportunities.”
The Ashland County Board voted 15-5 last week to adopt a resolution endorsing “responsible” iron-ore mining. Miller says there are many things to be considered.
“But I don’t think we want to just jump at anybody who says this is going to be jobs and not look at the other consequences. Are these jobs going to stay here in Wisconsin? Are they gonna be good paying jobs? And what’s gonna be the environmental impact of changing our laws?”
State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) represents the area where Gogebic Taconite is exploring the possibility of mining. He says public input is vital before easing up on mining regulations.
The earliest lawmakers would discuss the issue is October when they return for their fall floor session.