Wis. GOP Reveals Mining Legislation

By KBJR News 1

Wis. GOP Reveals Mining Legislation

January 16, 2013 Updated Jan 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM CST

Madison, WI (NNCNOW.com)-- Assembly Republicans have unveiled a mining bill that, according to a news release, could produce thousands of jobs with a potential iron ore mine in Northwest Wisconsin.

The "Mining for Jobs" bill closely resembles legislation to failed to become law last session, prompting Gogebic Taconite to pull out of a mining project near Mellen, WI.

According to the release, the new bill would include wetland provisions that would mirror current wetland laws.

The legislation would also include the Net Proceeds Tax with a 60/40 split, with 60% of revenues going to the Investment and Local Impact Fund and 40% going to an economic development fund to benefit area impacted by the mine.

Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch issued a statement following the introduction to the mining bill:

"Now that Republican legislative leaders have finally acknowledged that the mining legislation they’ve been promoting over the last year does exempt mining companies from meeting a variety of environmental standards, Governor Walker should endorse Senator Cullen’s bipartisan proposal, which maintains our state’s environmental standards and creates a fair and responsible permitting process.

While last year’s AB 426 was written by the company, this latest version of the GOP backed bill has clearly been written for the company, while Senator Cullen’s proposal was written in the
public eye for the public interest. Senator Cullen’s proposal also comes much closer to matching the consensus reached between George Meyer and Tim Sullivan, a consensus called for by Governor Walker last year, than the proposal put forth by Republicans today.

Republican leaders have already acknowledged that their bill will be an invitation to litigation, in part because the environmental exemptions included in the bill are in conflict with the public trust doctrine that exists within our state’s constitution. Instead of creating jobs in Northern
Wisconsin, the only jobs that will be created from the Republican bill will be the lawyers who spend 7 or 8 years arguing it in the courts.

We are all in agreement on the need for jobs throughout Wisconsin, but it seems as though Governor Walker and Republican legislative leadership are simply using the word “jobs” to cloak their unwillingness to talk about the flawed legislation and seek bipartisan solutions.

Once again, I call on Governor Walker to honor his pledge of bipartisanship and work with Senator Cullen, Senator Schultz and me because our bill provides the certainty in the permitting process he’s asked for while also maintaining the environmental protections he claims to wish to protect."