Sen. Jauch Blasts Ferrous Mining Bill

By KBJR News 1

Sen. Jauch Blasts Ferrous Mining Bill

March 8, 2013 Updated Mar 8, 2013 at 5:52 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com)-- A sweeping mining bill will likely become law following its passage through Wisconsin's state Assembly.

Gov. Scott Walker praised action from the legislature for what his administration says will create thousands of mining related jobs in the badger state.

State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, says the legislation has no democratic support and passing such a sweeping reform without bipartisanship is improper.

Both Wisconsin Senate and Assembly democrats offered several amendments to the legislation, every one of which was shot down by the republican controlled legislature.

Jauch says this bill weakens Wisconsin environmental standards and short-changes the taxpayer.

Republicans claim the bill keeps environmental standards intact for instance, having a maximum ratio of one acre of wetland impacted by mining to 1.5 acres of mitigation.

But Jauch says he believes it's the environmental changes that are going to draw legal action, holding up any chance of having a mine in northwestern Wisconsin.

"If they get a permit that fills in navigable waters and fills in wetlands in the Bad River watershed in a way in which is damaging to that watershed, you're going to see this thing drag through the courts for years, and years, and years," said Jauch.

Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, agrees with Jauch saying that allowing navigable waters to be filled in will violate the Public Trust Doctrine.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Public Trust Doctrine states Wisconsin lakes and rivers are public resources.

The Wisconsin's DNR's website states that Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to intervene to protect the commercial and recreational of navigable waters.

The chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has already said publicly the band plans to file lawsuits in an effort to prevent permitting.

The Bad River reservation is downstream of the proposed mine site near Mellen, Wisconsin.

The bill is expected to be signed into law Monday.

Written for the web by: Zach Vavricka