A state Senate committee has passed a bill that would end Wisconsin’s so-called moratorium on sulfide mining. The legislation (SB 395) passed the Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee on Wednesday, over the objections of Democrat, Senator Jon Erpenbach.
“It’s not about jobs. This is about making sure that we have an environment we can pass on to the next generation, and we can say ‘we did the best job we possibly could.’ With this legislation we are not doing that. We are taking a step backwards,” said Erpenbach, who along with Democrat Bob Wirch voted against the bill.
Erpenbach predicted the bill will fail to get any Democratic support when it comes to a floor vote in the Senate.
Under the 1998 “moratorium” law, 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.
“This is part of the rebirth of manufacturing in the Rust Belt states,” said GOP Senator Tom Tiffany, the bill’s author. “Americans want to make things once again, and I believe Wisconsin should do its part.”
The bill, including 6 Republican amendments, was approved on 3-2 partisan vote.