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Update: Mining Company Ends Interest in Wisconsin

State Republicans are not happy with their Democratic colleagues.

A controversial mining bill that supporters say will create thousands of jobs was sent back to committee Tuesday, but it doesn't look like it matters much.

Representatives from Gogebic Taconite issued a statement late Tuesday saying they are abandoning efforts to establish a mining operation in Wisconsin.

"Senate rejection of the mining reforms in Assembly Bill 426 sends a clear message that Wisconsin will not welcome iron mining. We get the message," said the company in a written statement. "GTac is ending plans to invest in a Wisconsin mine. We thank the many people who have supported our efforts."

State senators failed to pass the bill with a 17-16 vote mostly along party lines. The Republican exception was state Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) who delivered on his promise to vote against the measure in part because, he said, it didn't do enough to protect groundwater, streams and lakes. He opposed the legislation, too, because it doesn't provide an opportunity for the public to file challenges against mine permits.

The Assembly voted last month to pass mining legislation, but even Gov. Scott Walker acknowledged the Assembly bill needs some work in order to get approval from the Senate.

Republican legislators issued statements Tuesday ripping their Democratic colleagues for what they say amounts to keeping Wisconsin residents out of work.

"Senate Democrats have failed Wisconsin. I’m extremely disappointed that they refuse to see the clear need for jobs in our state," said Rep. Robin Vos. “Some continue to say they’re willing to negotiate; they are not.  Some say they’re for mining and jobs; they are not. Today’s vote in the Senate proves it.”

Vos is a Republican from Rochester in Racine County and is co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance. His focus continues to stay on bringing jobs to Wisconsin, he added.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) agreed.

"I am shocked beyond belief that no Democratic senator was willing to side with
jobs instead of siding with the environmental Special Interests. This bill was about putting people back to work across the state," he said in his statement. "“The people who say ‘We don’t want this type of job in Wisconsin’ obviously haven’t talked to those people who are looking work."

Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), though, thinks a compromise bill from Schultz and state Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) should have been more seriously considered and proves that state Republicans weren't interested in a bipartisan bill.

“I’m glad to see that the Senate rejected a deeply flawed mining bill. However, by not even considering the compromise proposal put forth by Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) and Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), the GOP has missed a chance to pass a truly bipartisan mining bill that would have created jobs, preserved Wisconsin’s environmental protections, and protected citizens’ rights," he wrote in an email to Patch. "The Senate’s vote today represents little more than yet another missed opportunity for a bipartisan solution.

Gogebic Taconite proposed the $1.5 billion open pit iron ore mine near Ashland in Northern Wisconsin. Company officials say the mine would create 700 jobs in the immediate vicinity, and at a recent listening session in Sturtevant, Wanggaard said there was the potential for another 2,500 jobs indirectly created through vendors and suppliers.

Ron Abalone March 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Jay - Should those voters that actually live there in the North Country recall their state senator for trying to put more environmental safeguards into a compromise bill? Why are Democrats not being recalled like Republicans? Can't Republicans get out and get those signatures? Your comments appear downstate elitist, a willingness to steamroll local populations standing in the way of Walker's goals to make himself look good jobwise before his own recall election. A mark of a sociopath is self-destruction, Walker and Republicans could have compromised a little and got the mine. Stiff ideology to the bitter end, and an overoptimism about the power of their bullying are other marks. And barring a soul searching by the Republicans (not likely, perhaps not even possible), the mine jobs are gone, at least for now.
Randy1949 March 08, 2012 at 05:16 PM
@$$and Sense -- Just basing this on what my father told me once. Doesn't it depend partly on the depth of the well?
$$andSense March 08, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Randy You are correct about the well depth. Waukesha is utilizing the sandstone aquifer which is where the radium is coming from. Other wells in the area that use the dolomite and limestone above the sandstone don't have the problem they do. Go to: http://pubs.usgs.gov/ha/ha730/ch_j/J-text8.html Sorry, but it is pretty boring, bur describes in detail the state's aquifers.
Randy1949 March 08, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Limestone and dolomite sure sounds like my water. I'm chipping it off my porcelain fixtures constantly.
Jay Sykes March 08, 2012 at 07:06 PM
@Ron Abalone... Downstate elitist, me? For pointing out the potential economic scale and significance of the mining project, to the local 'up north' economy.
Randy1949 March 08, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Boring? It is fascinating to me, especially having been up around Friendship with their sandstone rocks.
Lexi Noble March 08, 2012 at 09:16 PM
:) like :)
$$andSense March 08, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Whatever...
$$andSense March 09, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Jay It is "up nort", OK? get your lingo down, fer sure?
Ron Abalone March 09, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Nate the Hate - There is a sailor on the flag also. There are still a few laker ships and charter boats. Not much happening on the big Lakes these days like days of yore though. Commercial fishing is almost dead. There is also a stack of lead ingots on the flag, along with that miner. Bucky Badger is there also, as early miners in Wisconsin either lived in mine shafts or dug burrowlike huts resembling badger holes, down in there with the poisonous lead ore. The flag also has the national shield in the center, and E Pluribus Unum, showing a respect for the U.S. government. Ah, for the good old days of the mid-19th century when the flag was conceived.
The Anti-Alinsky March 09, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Ron, the absence of fishing and shipping is due to a natural evolution of our current economy. It is just easier, cheaper or faster to ship by other means. And since seafood can be transported virtually overnight, it is not as profitable to fish in the Great Lakes. Unlike mining which COULD be profitable, but made impossible by artificial means, mainly an hyperactive Democratic party. Nate, I don't think we could find a protester with an appropriate sign or gesture to put on the seal/flag.
$$andSense March 09, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Anti-nothing, the voice of Muskego (IOW - nowhere) Found your voice again, eh? @ $$andNonSense, " I just enjoy you peeing your pants." "I have been on a few government committees in the past. The process stated above I have learned from talking to various government officials, some elected and some appointed" The Anti-whatever knows someone who knows someone in podunk Muskego. OK
Ron Abalone March 09, 2012 at 06:36 PM
The Anti-Alinsky - Ironic, your use of Alinsky tactics. regarding our state flag with the sailor, I never said Lake transportation was economical anymore. As to the fishing, you went right past the invasion of exotic species, from lamprey eels to zebra mussels, etc. and the mercury contamination. The effect on big Lake fishing has been catastrophic. Lake trout, whiting, salmon, perch, etc. if they were not contaminated and were in fishable quanitites, would have their own market irrespective of shipped in seafood. The point is the miner on the flag is about as emblematic of our state today as the sailor. Those days are gone. Economics rule. A mining company gets no special favors. Gogebic left at the first impediment. If I ran that company and thought I could live within reasonable rules and make a profit, I would have made my case better than running home like a crybaby. Would you stay and make your case, or run home?
morninmist March 10, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Good riddence I and others who want to keep the land and water-and the people of WI healthy will welcome them back if they they agree to some compromises. http://www.ashlandcurrent.com/article/12/02/20/new-poll-people-dont-want-mine-law-overhaul New Poll: People Don't Want Mine Law Overhaul Article | February 20, 2012 - 8:37am | Ashland Current A new survey finds that Wisconsin voters are strongly opposed to the effects a new mining bill would have on the state’s environment. Concern about the bill crosses party lines, a memo from the survey firm Public Policy Polling reads. "This is something Wisconsin voters from all political backgrounds find deeply troubling," the memo says. The poll shows that 69 percent of voters oppose weakening Wisconsin’s wetlands law, while only 22 percent think doing so is necessary to attract open-pit mining companies and jobs to the state, the survey firm reports..........
The Anti-Alinsky March 10, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Wow. Talk about being bitter. I have been posting here all along. Unlike you and many of your Liberal friends, I do not feel the need to respond to every post. I know that if you and your ilk don't listen to a well thought and reasoned response the first time, repeating it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over will not make a difference.
Bob McBride March 10, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Ron, that's just the point. If they thought they could live within the "reasonable rules" and make a profit, they would have stayed and done so. They didn't, so they backed out on the deal. What remains to be seen is if any other company jumps into the lurch, now the Gogebic is out. If not, then it could very well be that the "reasonable rules" are not reasonable from the standpoint of operating a mine profitably in Wisconsin. Only time will tell. What will really be interesting, if another company does show interest, is the number of hoops the left is willing to put out there for them to jump through in order to get them to do the same thing Gogebic ultimately did.
The Anti-Alinsky March 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Ron, I use the moniker "Anti-Alinsky" because I believe facts, not emotion should drive a discussion. As I stated above the fact we no longer fish the great lakes is for economic reasons, part of which is invasive species and pollution. However, these are, for a lack of a better term, natural reasons. The legislatures from the states surrounding the great lakes did not sit down and say "no more fishing". Mining on the other hand COULD be viable, except 17 of our Liberal senators decided they would rather kill any possibility of jobs rather than let the DNR, and EPA determine environmental impacts. And I wouldn't consider Gogebic Taconite "running home like a crybaby". The rules we have in place make it impossible to mine in this state at this time. As far as the sailor and miner being emblematic, that true. However the reason they were chosen rather than the cow or corn stalk is because they were a proud part of our early history. A history we are apparently trying to distance ourselves from. Nate was using a little something know as sarcasm. It would be like Texas removing their Lone Star from their flag, or Washington removing the image of George Washington from theirs.
Kalen March 10, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Thank heaven forward thinking ( that means thinking beyond the next generation ) by the lone Republican Senator, realizes that there are more significant issues environmently than jobs which will NOT last forever. The sulfuric acid that would be replacing the good water already there by the billions of gallons would be devistating to the natural wild rice growth. Poison the water so willdlife will die off or for that matter not appear. The Phd's that testified to this infront of Robon Vos indicated as much. Mr. Vos, however, blew them off as he didn't like what they had to say. Yea for those who have the awareness and education to "just say NO!"
Mike Dee March 10, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I was born and raised in Hurley and attended the schools and my father was a miner, when I graduated the kids left to come to the city to look for work as the mines were starting to close because of the low grade of ore and the cost of keeping the mines pumped out and maintaince cost's involved. I kept the house for many years and it was a real shame to go home in the summer and see no employment for those people. That mine would have surly helped those people and kids coming out of high school could have stay there and had a job.I just don't get how the enviromentalist are against everything but then cry because companys move their business away. You can't expect a business to open shop and your going to tell them how to run their business. You cry about everything being made overseas but you don't want business in this country.Maybe when your head is as empty as your stomach a light will go on but I doubt it.Gee I wonder if the check from the tribes cleared the bank for Schultz and Jauch?
morninmist March 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
@mike dee You need to get the mining company to think and act on the environment. And planting seeds for a vile story on these two good Senators is Wrong--and shameful. ..........Maybe when your head is as empty as your stomach a light will go on but I doubt it.Gee I wonder if the check from the tribes cleared the bank for Schultz and Jauch?
Bren March 10, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Gear, Steve, you are perhaps not understanding about the taconite mining process. The ore is mined from soil, and if the soil contains pyrite, sulfuric acid can be created through mining waste. The recent mining bill included language that suggested that iron ore body is defined as containing additional minerals, which is erroneous. The presence of additional minerals needs to be examined very closely. There's nothing in my comments to suggest that I am anti-mining, so please stop going there. I am anti-sulfur and anti-arsenic in the water that northern Wisconsin relatives drink. That's why I state, rinse and repeat: let's test the soil and share the results. Then we know what we're dealing with when a RFP is prepared. Does anyone other than me find it strange that GTAC backed out so quickly?
Bren March 10, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I'm not against mining. I'm against lack of clarity and the potential of innocent people ending up with toxic chemicals in their water because of pyrite. Are Scott Fitzgerald's constituents upset that GTAC lobbyists had closer contact with their elected representative (text friends) than they?
Bren March 10, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I will apologize in advance for the source of information provided in the following link; please understand that I conduct frequent topic searches and information is reviewed from multiple sources. This "diary" from a community member at DailyKos shares, among other things, an unsigned press release about the mining issue dated 02/20/2012 but released on 03/09/2012 apparently from WDNR communications director Laurel Steffes and/or Bill Cosh. The diarist contacted Ms. Steffes about the partisan nature of the release, "Don't Buy the Hyperbole," on DNR letterhead. Well, read the "diary," and follow the links about who actually wrote the press release... and again my apologies. This is not an official news source but it links to official documents and sources: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/09/1072919/-Wisconsin-DNR-Secretary-Stepp-Apparently-Resigns-to-Become-a-Guest-Columnist-?via=sidebyuserrec
$$andSense March 10, 2012 at 09:42 PM
“Wow. Talk about being bitter. I have been posting here all along. Unlike you and many of your Liberal friends, I do not feel the need to respond to every post. I know that if you and your ilk don't listen to a well thought and reasoned response the first time, repeating it over and over and over.” Ah yes, the AA (hidden meaning here?) has a flash point. The one that moves to name calling and labeling. The one that knows everything. The one who has no clue to what a true conservative is? Do you have a mortgage? A car loan? Living at home with mom and dad (not that it would be bad)? My style of conservatism would drive you crazy. Actually accountable in every way, no loan or mortgage, no debt, and expecting every politician of the same. Let’s see, you are the same person who thinks badge unions should be exempt? You are the same person who thinks that state rep’s should be taking down a teachers salary (at $50k) for 30 to 90 days a year of work along with per diem? I hope not. If so, your hypocrisy is pretty transparent. And I know someone who knows someone in local gov’t. Therefore, I am an expert too. Agreed?
The Anti-Alinsky March 11, 2012 at 03:03 AM
You are no conservative. Now let me quote From http://muskego.patch.com/articles/gov-walker-bipartisan-and-pro-jobs : Hi, I’m Scott Walker Blah, blah blah SSDD, Sie arsch loch! And: As much as I am disgusted with the man, I cannot support the recall movement. I believe in fair play but cannot back all the money being spent on the recall effort. History will be Walker's ultimate judge. I voted for him, but he turned out to be a shill for someone else...Put the pressure on your state reps and make them accountable for their decisions...
The Anti-Alinsky March 11, 2012 at 03:07 AM
and from http://muskego.patch.com/blog_posts/no-jobs-under-walker What gets me is that Walker and his ilk can pound the piss out of most public unions (excepting the corrupt badge unions which paid him off) but he can't control one GD department (WDNR) under his direct watch? How pathetic is this guy? Which just puts more credence on what I have been posting all along, NO MORE POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS! He should be on his hands and knees with his mouth open to get Gogebic back here. Another Doyle like POS. You don't come off as a conservative, just a grumpy old man who isn't happy with anything.
James R Hoffa March 11, 2012 at 03:31 AM
You honestly want me to look at something over on the Daily Kos seriously, but when I point you in the direction of conservative blogs with exclusives, you scoff. Yeah, right!!!
$$andSense March 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM
So you re-posted my comments. What? Proves nothing other than people, especially those in public office, should be held accountable for their actions. What is the issue with that? I meant every word of it. You and your kind have no issue going rabid over every public employee and teacher, yet support badge union exemptions, don't you? You just can't see your own hypocrisy, can you? Hate and emotion don't mix well with clear thinking. What makes you a conservative? A bobble head on the car dash that nods every time Walker speaks? I think you are lost. You have no convictions because you buy into the pack mentality as it removes you from having to have an original thought and taking responsibility. Get home, your mother is calling. Still know someone who knows someone? Are you on the Muskego local ballot in April?
morninmist March 11, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Nicely said. http://buffalobeast.com/?p=12820
The Anti-Alinsky March 11, 2012 at 08:00 PM
How do you come off complaining about re-posting comments? You just did that with me on Friday. Check out your comment above with the 12:06 time-stamp. I have stated time and again if it were my decision, I would have included police and fire. However, I am not an elected official and cannot make those decisions. I can see the reasoning behind it, but still disagree. So how can you, as a self-proclaimed Conservative, blast Governor Walker as badly (in both senses of the word) as you do? Sure, I would love to have Ronald Regan as our Governor, but you know what? It ain't going to happen. Sure, I have talked to my representatives in Madison to let them know my opinions (for what good it does). But ya know what? You don't always score on every shot. Scott Walker is the best leader to start leading this state into the red. Speaking of Reagan, do you remember the 11th commandment? Actually, I am sure you don't. It goes "Thou shalt not speak ill of other conservatives". I have revised my original assessment. You are nothing but a grumpy old Liberal whose task is to try to bad talk Governor Walker posing as a Conservative.

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