A controversial mining bill faces an uncertain future at the Capitol. State Senator Bob Jauch says it’s a complicated issue, but he’s indicating the Assembly version of the mining bill (AB 426) is going nowhere in the state Senate. “Senator Schultz has made it clear that he has concerns – deep concerns,” says Jauch. “There are other Senate Republicans who have concerns about provisions in the bill.” Jauch says he and Senator Dale Schultz are working to amend the Assembly bill.
Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams tells the Joint Finance Committee that his firm is looking for certainty. “We are a business that has to make an investment or decision on a one-point-five billion dollar project,” he says. “Businesses like ours need to know the rules of the road, and we need to know when we’ll have an answer, whether it’s yes, or whether it’s no.”
AUDIO: Bill Williams (5:00)
Gogebic wants to apply for a permit to establish an open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Range region of northern Wisconsin.”The Penokee Range is probably one of the most environmentally sensitive areas remaining in the state of Wisconsin,” says Wisconsin Wildlife Federation President, George Meyer. “The Bad River Watershed is the best remaining watershed we have. This is probably the most sensitive you could ever try to put a mine.”
AUDIO: George Meyer (2:50)
The mining bill ended up before the finance panel in a hurry this week, after state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald pulled the plug on the work of a Senate committee on mining.