Wisconsin Mining Bill Debated, Passed in the House

By KBJR News 1

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 8:40 PM CDT

Madison, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Wisconsin Assembly passed AB 426, the Assembly Open-Pit Mining Bill, on a party-line vote today despite strong public opposition to the bill.

The Republican House bill designed to speed up the approval processes for of mining in the Penokee Range was debated Thursdayand voted on in the Wisconsin Assembly.

After the House pushed the voting back by two weeks to give more time for discussion and possible bill alteration many were still frustrated with the draft.

Large protests were held in Madison to let lawmakers know they were concerned about the mine's impact on the environment.
Representative Penny Bernard Schaber, from Appleton Wisconsin, says the bill hasn't changed a lot and people in Northwestern Wisconsin won't see the benefits they should from the mine.

"The amendment, rather than taking 50 percent of the net proceeds tax, the amendment takes only 40 percent of these proceeds away from the impacted communities and adds that to the state coffers. It does not go to the communities to help them. They will have significant costs because of this mine."

The bill also includes a law to cap the total amount of fees to the state at 2 million dollars, which isn't a law in the current Wisconsin legislation or Michigan and Minnesota.

Many Assembly Democrats still believe the bill is designed to benefit G-TAC more than it should.

Jordan Weinand