Wisconsin "Mining For Jobs" Bill Released, Keeps Current Enviornmental Standards

By KBJR News 1

January 16, 2013 Updated Jan 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM CDT

(NNCNOW.com) --- In the Wisconsin State of the State address Tuesday night, Governor Scott Walker said one of his main goals is to pass a bill that streamlines the process for safe and environmentally sound mining.

The Mining for Jobs bill was released by Republicans Wednesday.

They say it adheres to current environmental standards.

Last March, legislation to streamline Wisconsin's mining permit process ground to a halt causing Gogebic Taconite to back out of a plan to open an iron ore mine near Mellen, Wis.

Governor Walker says mining would be a lifeline for the state, especially in Iron County where the unemployment rate is the second highest in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, State Representative Nick Milroy says he wants any bill that passes to include assurances that the mining money would stay in the area of the mining operation.

"In the bill that they put out, they steal those revenues away from local towns and communities and send it downstate, that's not acceptable for communities in north Wisconsin,” he said.

Under the new Mining for Jobs bill, 60 percent of revenue generated by a mine would stay in the mining region, while 40 percent would be diverted to an economic development fund that would benefit all areas in the state impacted by any type of mining.

Milroy says he'd like to see a similar model to Minnesota in which the money goes to the IRRR B to be used to diversify the economy of the mining region.