Local Lawmaker Places Blame for Dead Mining Legislation
Sen. Alberta Darling says the state missed a real chance at creating hundreds of jobs, while Democrats rejoice over the rejected bill.
Legislation that would have streamlined a new iron mine in northern Wisconsin appears dead, and local lawmakers have begun the finger pointing.
Republican State Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills issued a statement Wednesday saying the Senate missed its chance to create an environment for hundreds if not thousands of good paying jobs, when it rejected the bill.
“I am amazed to see senators, who have watched for years as MMSD dumped raw sewage into Lake Michigan, raise environmental concerns over a bill that provides real protections for the water near the proposed mine,” said Darling who represents Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, Fox Point and Menomonee Falls. “I will continue to look for real solutions, but I fear the Democrats in the Senate feel it's more important for Scott Walker to lose his job than it is to provide jobs to thousands of folks in our state."
In response to the rejected legislation, mining company Gogebic Taconite LLC. announced it would abandon the project and was ending plans to invest in a Wisconsin mine, according to Wispolitics.com.
Sen. Dale Schultz, a Republican from Richland Center, crossed party lines and voted down the bill.
Republicans say the mine would have created 600 to 700 jobs in the area.
Democrats have balked at the concept of a northern mine, arguing it weakens water protections and would have a stark impact on the quality of drinking water.
State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) criticized the bill in late January after it passed the Assembly on a party-line vote. She called the legislation a damaging political giveaway and special-interest handout, and advocated parties to work together on a bill that would create quality jobs, promote the public interest, protect public health and preserve vital natural resources.
The Legislative session will end next week, and if no mining bill is realized, Gov. Scott Walker might call a special session, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.