Democrats want to make sure residents of northern Wisconsin get a chance to make their voices heard about proposed mining legislation.
Assembly Republicans unveiled their mining bill last month and held a public hearing in Milwaukee. State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) says that meant those living near the proposed site of an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin had to drive 15 hours for a chance to speak.
Jauch says “he’s not upset there was a hearing held in Milwaukee,” but he is upset one was not also scheduled near the site of a proposed iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron Counties. The legislation is meant to streamline the approval process for that project from Gogebic Taconite.
Jauch and fellow Democrats are holding their own hearing on the bill in Ashland this coming Saturday. Jauch says it’s meant to give a voice to those who are frustrated by the thought that “government seems to end at Highway 29.”
The Assembly is expected to begin acting on the bill later this month. Republicans say they did hold a hearing on state mining laws earlier this year in northern Wisconsin, although that was before the Assembly mining bill was introduced. GOP leaders have also indicated they hoped the Senate would hold its own hearing on the bill up north.
Jauch says they will impose some time limits on testimony, but the hearing will go on for as long as it takes for everyone to have a chance to speak. The hearing will be at Ashland High School this coming Saturday, January 7th, starting at 10am.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:01)