An unusual Friday hearing was scheduled, for an Assembly bill that would end Wisconsin’s so-called moratorium on sulfide mining. State Representative Rob Hutton is the bill’s author.
“This legislation simply creates a platform, with support from the DNR, to begin that permitting process, by removing a moratorium that was put in place back in 1998,” Hutton said. The Brookfield Republican said the existing law, which requires that a mining company must prove a sulfide mine can operate for 10 years and be closed for another 10 without polluting ground or surface waters, has failed to provide economic opportunity for Wisconsin.
Among those testifying against the measure, Menominee tribal chairman Gary Besaw. “We cannot ruin this world for our babies, for our kids, for our grandkids, so that we might have wealth,” Besaw said.
An amended version of the Senate bill has already passed out of committee. “We hope to see there’s no repeal of the ‘prove it first’ mining law,” said Ryan Billingham with the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. “That’s the only solution. The amendments are token amendments that do nothing to address the fundamental problem.”