State Mining Bill Push Begins with Public Hearing

Backers and opponents of mining legislation filled a more than 100-seat hearing room and two overflow rooms in the Capitol to be heard on the prospect of a mine in the state.

Last March, one Republican lawmaker held up passage of a GOP-backed bill that would have paved the way for construction of an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. 

With a majority in the state Assembly and Senate this legislative session, GOP lawmakers labeled mining legislation a top priority and began their push with an all-day public hearing Wednesday.

Backers and opponents of the mining legislation filled a more than 100-seat hearing room in the Capitol and two overflow rooms to be heard on the prospect of a mine in the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Those backing the legislation say it would bring jobs to a local economy that currently doesn’t offer many opportunities, while the opposing faction says the bill would weaken environmental protections, in particular for wetlands, groundwater and surface water, the newspaper writes.

And, while GOP lawmakers are still pushing mining regulation reform — introducing essentially the same bill last week — state Sen. Tim Cullen, a Democrat from Janesville, countered Tuesday with his own piece of legislation. Cullen says the bill would “uphold Wisconsin’s environmental requirements while also providing certainty to the mining industry.”

“Democrats and Republicans alike heard the same recommendations from mining experts that I did, and I stand by this bill as a realistic solution to the mining industry’s request for certainty,” Cullen said in a statement Tuesday.

Democratic Leader Chris Larson hailed the bill as an important first step toward bipartisanship in the Senate. Republican lawmakers told reporters on Wednesday they would meet with the sponsors of the alternative bill and perhaps pull from it for the original legislation, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Democrats are calling for more hearings, especially in the northern portion of the state, but Republicans say Wednesday’s will be the only one. Democrats also took issue with time limits imposed on questioning. 

Humble Opinion January 25, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Exactly, Steve!
GearHead January 25, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Bren, where was your concern about beening open and forth-righty when the Democrats fled the state, the last Doyle budget was rammed through in the middle of the night without any hearing, and for that matter changing the Senate rules so ObamaCare couldn't be fillibustered? Not very forth-righty! The Walker admin along with WI legislatiors continues to sell its vision of Wisconsin based on its merits, including mining. Only in your world are days of comment seen as not being open.
Lee January 25, 2013 at 03:51 PM
We are still the culture of "them vs. us". Will this ever end? I am so sick of bi-partisanship on all fronts. Nothing will EVER get done with these attitudes. I think everyone should LISTEN to the other side and not go into attack mode at the mere suggestion "their side" could possibly be wrong for what ever reason. This is how we show our children how to behave in society? My way or the highway. Shameful.
CowDung January 25, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Bren: What makes you think that the mine would recruit people from outside the state to fill the jobs that the mine creates? Is it really that advantageous for the mine to pay for moving expenses and such to bring in out of state workers if there are plenty of local people able and willing to do the work? Secondly, even if they do bring in out of state people to fill all of the new jobs, isn't there still going to be an increase in economic activity (and more jobs created) as those workers join the local economy and start spending their paychecks at local businesses? I think quotas that require an employer to hire 'x number' of a target demographic are generally a bad idea, particularly in the private sector.
morninmist January 25, 2013 at 04:46 PM
I am not against the mine. I and others want protections for the land and for our health. Simple as that. ............. Tansandy 6:58 am on Friday, January 25, 2013 I find it totally amazing that the liberals here against the mine,
morninmist January 25, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Cow dung Republicans did not like it when Pelosi said lets pass the bill and we will see what is in it. Now the show is on the other foot. The mining company will let us know its plans after the bill is passed. http://www.postcrescent.com/viewart/20130124/APC010401/301240285/State-GOP-begins-mining-bill-push-hearing-story-photos- ........Democrats on the committees peppered Seitz and Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams with multiple what-if scenarios, asking whether the company is really committed to the project, whether it would hire Wisconsin workers when hundreds of experienced miners are out of work around the country and what the company would do if iron prices plummet and the mine is no longer viable. Seitz promised work would begin as soon as Walker signs the bill. He promised to release thousands of pages detailing the company’s plans after the bill becomes law. .......... 46 am on Friday, January 25, 2013 Bren: What makes you think that the mine would recruit people from outside the state to fill the jobs that the mine creates? ...
CowDung January 25, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Do you not understand the difference between what Pelosi said and what you are claiming that the mine is saying? We know exactly what it is the mining bill, we don't have to pass it to see what is in it.
Bill Mack January 25, 2013 at 05:27 PM
These people don't want anything like a mine bill to pass under Walkers watch. They would rather people not have good paying jobs I guess? It will be just like the Keystone bill that Obama will never approve no matter how much evidence that the environment will not be damaged. Obama would rather have windmills to do the job. It is strictly politics ideology and good paying jobs go to hell.
Steve ® January 25, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Exactly. Obama's bluff is about to be called as Nebraska's gov. just approved a new route for the pipeline. One that does not go through what Obama said was his reason to deny all those jobs. But I suspect he will continue his us vs them approach and keep us all unemployed.
Been there done that January 25, 2013 at 07:35 PM
As a former northern WI resident, I can only hope this mining bill goes through and ruins the land and property adjoining the mining area and rivers that will potentialy be harmed of all the rich Milwaukeeans and Chicagoans who have their palatial weekend estates to the point it is deemed worthless. Then maybe people will learn how shortsighted it is to strip the land for the sake of money when we are left with a wasteland.
Dominic Joseph Radanovich January 25, 2013 at 08:08 PM
You seem to forget that the Native Americans were here first and are still here. This is their land that you are talking about. Born here or not, you are an immigrant and a foreigner. You are also a bigot!
Dominic Joseph Radanovich January 25, 2013 at 08:22 PM
On the Keystone issue: It is more than President Obama. The Dakota/Lakota/Nakota People have spoken with one voice: NOT ON OUR LAND! If Keystone gets passed the line will have to go completely around all reservations. So it's not just the President. The People have spoken, too. And this must be honoured.
Dave Koven January 25, 2013 at 08:32 PM
Craig...Get rid of guns, and you get rid of all the drama you listed as happening around the world. Now, re-read your list of events without guns being present. I am a realist, however, so print a list of events where guns caused more problems than they solved. I'm sure you'd have a much longer list. Not all events end well just because someone was armed. Also, no one ever talks about the effects on the shooters when they kill someone. The police routinely have psychiatric interventions for the cop who has to kill someone. The army routinely deals with PTSD problems in returning servicemen. Some never get over their guilt. Some feel no guilt at all, and those guys would worry me a lot.
Greg January 25, 2013 at 10:49 PM
This legislation is not for a mine, it's for any mine. These "what-if scenarios" are irrelevant. The specifics of any one mine should be ironed out during the application/approval process.
Dominic Joseph Radanovich January 25, 2013 at 11:03 PM
To Steve: The word is conquered, not concurred. Tell a modern day Lakota that they've been "conquered" and you possibly could be in for a modern day scalping! We are not conquered. Wasichu's just want to believe the crap their government feeds them.
Lyle Ruble January 25, 2013 at 11:58 PM
@Brian Dey....There is much more involved than what you describe.
skinnyDUDE January 26, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Wasteland? they dump raw sewage in lake michigan on a regular basis...give me a break. You are talking about a problem that doesnt exist over one that actually does.
Steve ® January 26, 2013 at 07:40 AM
A death threat, good job. The ingins apparently stand in the way of progress here. Maybe a casino will buy them some support.
Steve ® January 26, 2013 at 07:42 AM
A conquered people have no voice in this issue, it's Obama, all Obama. http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/natural-gas-pipeline-map.gif http://www.pipeline101.com/overview/images/ProductsMap.gif http://www.propublica.org/images/ngen/gypsy_big_image/pipeline_line_map-630x420.gif
Steve ® January 26, 2013 at 07:44 AM
Greg gets it. Greg must like success. I approve Greg for a mine.
Steve ® January 26, 2013 at 07:46 AM
Steve ® January 26, 2013 at 07:49 AM
Lyle - please respond to the second photo posted. Thanks.
Greg January 26, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Bringing non-indian casinos to Wisconsin is a great idea. They would pay taxes and support many families. Casinos must be better than a mine, from some of the comments above, nothing could be worse. One call and Harrah's would be building the finest casino in the Midwest.
Steve ® January 26, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Takes a lot of iron and other resources mined out of the earth to build a casino. We can't afford that environmental damage right now.
Dominic Joseph Radanovich January 26, 2013 at 08:15 PM
There is no death threat here. Don't be so paranoid! We are not "injuns" any more than you are a "n....." AND, Native Peoples do not stand in the way of progress. They just have a better outlook and concept of Creation and how to not spoil it. And, casinos aren't the answer either. (I know you mean the remark about casinos as an insult, but that's on you.) This is what we all need to do. It's called good stewardship. This is not our planet. We are only here for a little while and then we are recalled. So, in the little while that we are blest to be here why not be good to each other and to the planet? We are all human beings to begin with, so why not behave humanely?
Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Tiny planet ??? ... Preserve what is left ??? Talk about gullible low-information rubes ... you, sir, should stop accepting every liberal rant and do some homework. There are abundant resources, and industry has done a marvelous job of incorporating respectful profitable operation with community building. The obvious benefit to inviting industry to our state is the opportunity for utilizing our resources, rather than buying from others - creating job opportunities, instead of handing out unemployment checks - establishing successful private industry, instead of demanding someone else pay our bills. I'm sure you can find a examples that weren't appropriately implemented, but the vast majority of industry has improved, and continues to be the life blood of the future. The stonewalling that Steve has consistently pointed out is a problem that needs to be arrested. The fact that we have government bodies that can simply "table", or endlessly delay resolution (see the US Senate as the worst offenders) for future opportunity is a path to austerity.
Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Dominic ... they immigrated here as well, check your history. The current generations should respect where they are, instead of wasting emotion on century old history. As far as reprehensible ancestors ... they can be found in every culture - world wide - ... why restrict your angst in one small area, with one small group?
Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:22 PM
I invite opportunities in my backyard, if that is where they exist. It means growth and revenue ... we could use it.
Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Dominic ... you seem to overlook quite a bit of lamentable history while you stand on "your land" that is part of a "planet" that is "not ours". We have as much right as any in the State to pursue opportunity ... protectionist activity simply delays opportunity, or ensures it occurs somewhere else. Acting humanely would require respect for the endeavors of those that risk for reward, create opportunity for others, and do so in spite of the reprehensible attitudes of people that cannot acknowledge the benefits we have inherited as a result of their behavior. Let's move forward, that our inheritors, of every culture, appreciate the efforts of our generation ... instead of our debt.
morninmist January 27, 2013 at 06:30 PM
The TeaGOP is a the party of ruin! .............. @mostawesomeblog HOUSE GOP: 46 Abortion Bills, 113 Religion Bills, 73 Family


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