A Democratic state lawmaker says he’s still open to working out a deal on mining legislation.
Even though the Legislature adjourned the session without passing regulatory reforms for mining, state Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) says there’s still a strong desire to keep working on the issue. Jauch says “adjournment should not be an excuse to stop working on a solution.”
Jauch, who represents the area in Iron and Ashland County where Gogebic Taconite had proposed a large open pit mining operation, says residents of the district remain “bitterly divided and citizens are frustrated with the impasse.”
Jauch was a vocal opponent of the Republican mining bill, which could have cleared the way for the mine in his northern Wisconsin district. He believes there was enough common ground to reach a deal, but politics got in the way. He says “an agreement can be reached if there’s a will to do it,” but people got more interested in fighting political battles than reaching a solution.
The Poplar Democrat notes he did offer a compromise on the bill, but only one Republican joined him. Jauch and Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) are now both targeted by possible recalls because of their work on an alternative plan.
Both lawmakers opposed the GOP legislation because of concerns about environmental protections and the removal of the contested case hearing process. Jauch says there remains a “right and responsible way” to change the law, which he remains committed to working on.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:01)