FIrst Public Hearing On Wisconsin Mining Bill Leaves Some Divided
On Wednesday in Madison, the first joint public hearing of Senate and Assembly mining committees came together to discuss mining legislation that would streamline the mining permitting process.
During the hours of discussion on the topic of a mine in northern Wisconsin, Gogebic Taconite promised a $1.5 billion investment if this particular piece of mining legislation is passed. The company has wanted to would build an iron ore mine in the Penokee Range in Ashland and Iron Counties, but backed away last year in fear of lenghty permitting processes..
Wednesday’s hearing was scheduled for 12 hours, with testimony from bill authors, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Gogebic Taconite representatives and residents from across the state.
The hearing got off to a heated start when strict time limits and question restrictions were revealed. Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, even said the hearing amounted to a “kangaroo court.”
Even before taking a stance on this Republican-backed mining bill, northern Wisconsin legislators called for another hearing where this legislation would most greatly impact. The authors of the bill that would bring the mine in have promised that the air and water quality protections in the bill would not result in degrading the environment.