Members of a legislative committee meet in Hurley Thursday to get public input on a possible iron mine in that region. Representative Mary Williams (R-Medford) is chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy and Small Business. “And I want to get input from people on the benefits and the concerns in regards to changing the state mining statutes.”
Williams plans to go 264 miles north of Wisconsin’s capital city to hear from residents, tribal members, local government officials and stakeholders regarding their concerns about Gogebic Taconite’s proposal to dig tons of iron ore from the ancient mountain range. “Now this mine could create thousands of good jobs — good paying jobs — for many, many years to come. So we want to gather information that will be relevant to designing a bill to move forward in the best manner than we can.”
Citing environmental concerns, conservationists and outdoors groups say lawmakers should consider the consequences before caving to pressure from the mining industry to weaken state mining laws. Williams says the nearly five-hour drive is much too far for the general public to go to attend a public hearing in Madison. “And I thought if we have the opportunity to go right in their own back yard that would be a good thing to do. So we’ll start with a hearing there.”
Williams says the committee will convene in the Hurley High School auditorium starting at 1:00 and will likely continue into the evening. She plans to have even more hearings on this issue. The auditorium holds 350 people and Williams expects every seat to be filled.
The state needs to give approval before the mining company can move forward with its plans.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:30