Governor Walker is calling on lawmakers to pass a proposal that would streamline the state’s permitting process for mining. The governor made stops across the state Tuesday to stress the importance of passing legislation before the current session ends in mid-March.
The bill would make it easier for a proposed open pit mine in Iron and Ashland Counties to win approval. Gogebic Taconite has put plans for the operation on hold until changes are made, citing concerns about the uncertainty of Wisconsin’s regulatory climate.
A version of the legislation has already passed in the Assembly, but the Senate has stalled on efforts to reach a compromise. Republicans hold only a one vote majority in the Senate and members are split on how to ease regulations while still protecting the environment.
During a stop in Green Bay, at a manufacturer that makes products for the mining industry, Walker said he understands there will likely be some changes made to the Assembly version of the bill. However, he says the Legislature can balance the need to protect the environment while still creating jobs.
AUDIO: Gov. Walker (:20)
The governor says he thinks lawmakers can address any concerns and approve a proposal in the next couple of weeks. He says there’s “no line in the sand” and his only focus is on getting a bill passed.
Walker’s visit to Feeco International was one of three stops he made around the state on Tuesday to push for a mining bill.
Mike Kemmeter, WHBY