Governor Scott Walker is holding out hope that a deal can still be reached this year on mining legislation.
Passage of the controversial bill overhauling the approval process for mining projects in the state was derailed at the end of the last Legislative session. Governor Walker believes that was largely due to politics, because Democrats were unwilling to give him a victory on a major jobs bill with a recall election looming in the future.
The bill would have made it easier for Gogebic Taconite to open an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. The project was expected to bring up to 700 jobs in an area much in need of economic development.
The bill was blocked in the state Senate when Republican Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) sided with Democrats to stop a vote. Walker believes that dynamic could change after the recall, and some Democrats may move to support mining legislation. Walker says the “tremendous pressure on 14 state Senate Democrats” will not be there after the June 5th recall.
Walker believes discussions could start up again before the end of the year, although he says there are no specific plans right now. He says “we’ll see how things play out in the future.”
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (:57)