Mining issues becoming a political food fight among Wisconsin gubernatorial hopefuls

By KBJR News 1

July 5, 2014 Updated Jul 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM CDT

SUPERIOR, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) --- Republicans have criticized Governor Scott Walker's Democratic challenger for not taking a firm stance on mining issues in Northern Wisconsin.

Going into the 2014 campaign, mining issues in Wisconsin are becoming a political food fight for gubernatorial hopefuls.

The development of mining in Wisconsin has been a focus of Governor Walker's Administration.

As his third campaign for the Governor's mansion nears, Republicans have criticized Walker's Democratic rival, Mary Burke, for staying on the fence of future mining developments.

"I've been very clear on where I stand on this," Burke said. "As Governor, I want to make sure that we are taking into account of our natural resources because they are an important part of our economy."

Senator Bob Jauch and other Democratic lawmakers have criticized the Walker Administration for turning their backs on environmental protection policies.

"This company wants to do things fast, they want to do it their way, and they don't seem to have much of a public interest," Jauch said. "Mary Burke will stand for the public interest and that is the way Wisconsin environmental policy has been written in the past."

If elected, Burke said she would consider adopting similar mining measures from Wisconsin's Northern neighbor.

"Next door in Minnesota they have a very strong mining industry, but they also protect their natural resources," Burke said. "It doesn't have to be one or the other – and that is what I bring to this as Governor – is I am about problem solver."

If polls are any indication, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will face stiff competition at the ballot box in November.

According to Real Clear Politics polling, Walker leads Burke by two percentage points statewide.

Nick Minock