The governor believes a deal can still be reached on a mining bill. However, Governor Walker says any measure lawmakers pass would need to be substantially similar to a compromise rejected in the state Senate last week.
Walker says “passing a bill and calling it a mining bill really doesn’t do the hard working citizens of the state any good if it doesn’t actually lead to a mine that’s going to produce those jobs.”
The governor says Gogebic Taconite, the company that has been pressing lawmakers to streamline the regulatory process for an open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin, has already agreed to about 20 compromises in the bill. Supporters of the changes say the Gogebic project could create thousands of jobs and bring billions of dollars into the state.
In talking with Gogebic’s CEO, Walker says it was clear the company has already moved as far as it is willing to go. He says that’s why the company abandoned its plans for the mine in Iron and Ashland Counties after the Senate failed to get enough votes to pass the bill.
The Senate compromise failed after Republican Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) voted with Democrats in opposing the amended version. Schultz has raised concerns about changes to environmental regulations and the removal of public legal protections.
The governor says he is willing to call a special session, but only if the final product actually makes the state more appealing to mining companies. Walker says “having a dog and pony show” doesn’t do the state any good if no jobs come from it.
The governor says lawmakers have sent a clear message to all mining companies that they are not welcome in Wisconsin right now.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:07)