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Mining Law Reform Top of List for State Republicans

Speaker-elect Robin Vos plans to introduce mining law reform as his first order of business when the state Legislature reconvenes later this month.

Calling it "a top priority" when the state Legislature officially returns to work later this month, Assembly Speaker-elect Robin Vos (R-Rochester) will make mining law reform the first bill introduced during the new session.

Vos and Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbottsford) say reform is needed to bring mining back to the state while also protecting the environment.

“Mining reform is a top priority in the state Assembly,” Vos said in a press release. “I’m hopeful all the interested parties can come together to protect our environment and make mining reform happen.”

Vos and Suder joined Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday as he visited companies in Green Bay, Milwaukee and Schofield that would directly benefit from the mining industry's return to Wisconsin.

Last year, a mining bill was defeated in the state Senate in a 17-16 vote, mostly along party lines. Shortly thereafter, Gogebic Taconite, the company behind the proposed $1.5 billion open pit iron ore mine near Ashland, let lawmakers know they were no longer interested in setting up shop in the Dairy State.

But now, Republicans are pushing to re-open the debate, and Walker is supporting the move, according to a story from WBAY-TV.

While in Green Bay at Valley Plating and Fabricating, a business that supplies structures for mining, the governor said the new mining bill is good for business and the environment.

"The process should be one where it's clearly defined, where it's a streamlined process and it's one that still protects clean air, clean land, clean water," Walker is quoted as saying.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) released a statement saying he might support a new mining bill as long as the state's environment — vital for tourism and agriculture — is protected.

"We need to make sure the bill creates mining jobs and also protects our natural resources, as well as our tourism and agricultural economies that are so vital to Wisconsin," he said.

Dirk Gutzmiller January 03, 2013 at 08:13 PM
China, the largest importer of iron ore by far, is in an economic slowdown, iron ore prices are therefore volatile, and forecast to trend downward, not the boom Steve naively totes. The mine could never open, or open and shutdown periodically or permanently. There is no guarantee that a single miner job has been guaranteed by a mining company. Steve is a cheerleader for mining, certainly not an economist. Promising thousands of jobs so offhandedly speaks to his integity issues..
Steve ® January 03, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Dirk is a cheerleader for the far left talking points that are routed in no real understanding. Another taconite mine just opened up in Minnesota late last year and another one is in the works. Same in Michigan. And who cares if it never opens? This doesn't effect you one bit, all of the pre-opperation costs are covered by the mining company. If a company is willing to invest billions into a hole, odds are they feel there is opportunity for return. http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=iron-ore&months=120 No mine no jobs Dirk.
Steve ® January 03, 2013 at 09:00 PM
The average salary for this area of Wisconsin is about $25,000. They are starving for jobs and an economy. Getting paid $60,000+ with benefits is now bad? Why because they aren't public jobs paid with borrowed tax dollars?
Dirk Gutzmiller January 03, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Steve promising thousands of jobs from iron mining in Northern Wisconsin shows his sophmoric pretensions and lack of understanding of mining and its economies. There is a huge lead time between getting the laws changed to benefit the mine owner and actrually starting mining. In the meantime, the company running the operation could go bankrupt or quit operations, perhaps after all the environmental damage has been done. Chris Cline, the billionaire owner of the chosen mining company, is tied up in coal mining. Coal is currently under severe competitve pressures from natural gas, now abundant from fracking. Iron ore prices fluctuate greatly. There is no assurance that future iron ore prices will keep such mining profitable China's infrastructure buildup is waning, and this buildup drove prices higher in previous years, but not now. If the mine does start up, most of the employees would be brought in from Cline itself, or out-of-state miners from other companies. Steve is visualizing a North Dakota oil type scenario, and iron ore is a long, long way down the get rich quick scale from an energy play. We just do not hear much about "booming" northern Minnesota and its iron mines, mostly just some awareness about the hardscrabble living conditions there as mines open and close, and wax and wane. Impossible to believe Steve has the objectivity and discernment to actually run a successful business, as he claims. He is just one to jump and cheer on the sidelines.
Dirk Gutzmiller January 03, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Craig - And what kind of "pro-jobs" guy hangs around on Patch all day writing crappy comments like you? The iron ore from any Up North mine would most likely end up in China or India. Not sure where you are coming from on iron ore coming here from China, it flows the other way. Asia has been the demand center and consumer for iron ore, and is the only place that still does smelting in a major way. Its own mines have been inadequate to handle its own demand. Asian demand for iron ore is why such a mine is even being discussed now. We have no assurances that Chris Cline, the mine owner from Palm Beach, is going to invest billions in North Woods mining. Has he signed any documents to that effect? And why are the Republicans sucking up so much to a specific mining company anyway? If there is money to be made such mining, you would think other companies would be crowding in to be involved at this point.
Steve ® January 03, 2013 at 11:35 PM
That was a lot of tying just to personally attack Steve ®. But it contained no substance of why an iron mine is bad, and why creating thousands of jobs is bad. ►If there is money to be made such mining, you would think other companies would be crowding in to be involved at this point.◄ This is why you are dead wrong. There is no mining in Wisconsin because of the way our laws are set. There is a lot of taconite mining in Minnesota because of the way their laws are set up. Our appeals to a mine do not have deadlines before a decision. MN has a two year deadline. ie, leftie group comes up from Arizona and wants XYZ tested for. The mining inventors have to pay for XYZ testing, and this can go on forever. In Minnesota every leftie group in the country can ask for a test, but after 2 years, they can not. They are told to go to hell and a decision on the mine must be made. Permit issued or denied. We will never have a mine until we institute a deadline. This is what has to happen first, and what was shot down by the brain dead liberals like yourself to spite walker and keep thousands out of work. You don't hear about taconite mining because you don't hear about mining, unless some worker is stuck down a shaft. Last I checked I didn't see you up in Virginia, MN drilling exploration holes or working the open pit mines or working the local grocery store selling food to the local miners and contractors.
Steve ® January 03, 2013 at 11:38 PM
China is our largest user of taconite. But you are dead right, it benefits our GDP, it hires Americans, it generates a BIG money industry, it floods local and national governments with cash. Guys like Dirk like to whine about "outsourcing" jobs. Here is an instance where we get to make something here for once and ship it to them. Like wind energy? Taconite Like high speed rail? Taconite Like Walker? No Taconite
WPN1488 January 03, 2013 at 11:51 PM
These left wing anti-mining types like to bring up the Native American population and how the mine would be a contributor to health aliments, pollution blah, blah, blah. Have you driven through a Wisconsin Indian Reservation lately? They’re filthy. Drive through any Reservation in Wisconsin and it looks like you’re on the Hollywood set for “Dawn of the Dead.” The mine would be the best thing for the Native American people of Northern WI.
Bren January 04, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Steve, as we have "discussed" several times before, there was an issue involving the actual soil composition in the proposed mining area (bringing up fears of potential environmental damage to the nearby river and lands); there was an issue in the mining bill that re-defined standard geological terminology (suggesting that there was an issue with the soil composition in at least part of the proposed mining area); there was an issue that the Walker-appointed head of the state DNR is vocally anti-DNR and supportive of legislation that undermines that agency; there was an issue in that all involved parties (residents, nearby Native Americans, etc.) were not included in the discussion. Etc. I agree that rules need to be set. But given the choice of doing things properly and well this time, wouldn't you take it? Now, again, concerning the "thousands" of jobs, those were temporary. Ultimately there would be about 800 permanent jobs. Mine leadership was all from out-of-state, there was nothing in the mining bill or negotiations to ensure that some % of those 800 jobs would go to people actually living in the region. The area needs jobs and they also need the tourism that the natural beauty of the district inspires. There's no reason, if common sense is employed, that mining couldn't take place. Unless the soil composition is wrong. Let's start with soil testing. I'm always suspicious at furtive behavior, which was precisely what was going on with the original bill.
Bren January 04, 2013 at 12:37 AM
As I wrote above, mining using safe practices and properly regulated, no problem. Not sharing soil sample test results, re-defining standard geological terminology (to hide dodgy test results?), trying to push through a bill without fully informing the public of potential ramifications, giving mining executives better access to GOP legislators than their own constituents, etc., etc., that doesn't work for me. We have the capacity to make this happen in an above-board, professional fashion. Let's do that this time around and it will be a success for everyone involved.
Steve ® January 04, 2013 at 04:54 AM
The bill last year didn't approve the mine. It was only the first step in many. This bill changed and created a deadline before a decision is required. I explained this above. With no deadlines no mining company will invest in a future operation. I left you some pictures above to help you get in the mood to drill some holes.
Steve ® January 04, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Errrrrr wrong. The more you type your fantasy does not make it come true. This bill didn't approve the mine outright, where did you get this information? This bill sets a deadline on a decision on a mine. Of course mine "leadership" comes from out of state. Last I checked we don't have a taconite mine in-state. And a mine of this size would create thousands of permanent long term jobs. I've explained this to you more times than I can count. A mine this size creates an entire economy, inside and outside of the mine. The taconite on this proposed site is at least 30 years worth. Now does that sound temporary to you?
Jay Sykes January 04, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Hmm... Iron County,the proposed site of the taconite mine, has a total population of 6,000. Lets see... 800 jobs in a County with a total population of 6,000. That would be like bringing -One-hundred-Thirty-Thousand- [130,000] jobs to Milwaukee County.... Probably no positive economic benefit to be found there.....
Dirk Gutzmiller January 04, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Craig - I would want the US to use American Iron ore. Maybe you have not been awake the last forty years, most of the steelmaking in America from iron ore is dead. Get out of Hooterville and visit Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Gary. Most iron ore from Up North, should that mine ever produce, would flow to Asia, under current economic and political conditions. It would take highly protective laws which Republicans have not historically wanted because they enjoy free trade, to keep the iron ore in America.
Dirk Gutzmiller January 04, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Steve - I never said I was against "thousands of jobs", I was just questioning your integrity and character in claiming that the mining bill would result in that magnitude of jobs. You keep trying to explain a fantasy vision equivalent to some kind of gold or oil rush, but we are talking about very unsexy iron ore. I haven't seen anybody rushing to N. Minnesota to get in on such mining. That is why you come across as a ditzy cheerleader for a 1-15 NFL team. I have known "refugees" from Virginia, MN and other iron towns up there. You are not the type to visit a place when a local industry is shut down for an extended period of time, like iron ore mining, due to poor commodity prices. Shutting off complaints and appeals regarding mines by passing laws sounds a lot like suppressing voter rights. A favorite tactic of the fading ultra-right is "if you can't beat'em, force'em to be quiet and suppress and take away their rights."
Dirk Gutzmiller January 04, 2013 at 07:03 PM
WPN1488 - I noticed a similar environment in parts of white Appalacia. And they have the benefit of no racial prejudice against them and lots of mining.
Steve ® January 04, 2013 at 08:36 PM
You type with little substance, it is all hyperbole Taconite mines are vastly different from most smaller operation gold mines. As an individual you don't go dig in the ground and pull out iron. It takes billions in investments from huge operations to open a mine. A new mine just opened up Nov. 2012 in Minnesota. They will start drilling this month with production to start in February. Millions of dollars changed hands in 2011 gearing up, purchasing equipment and hiring workers. Salesmen put a huge chunk into their retirement accounts selling that equipment and will continue to selling consumables. It's not your resource to hold forever and lie about. We all own it, and we all need a vote on it after environmental research has in given a deadline.
Dirk Gutzmiller January 05, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Steve - We live in Wisconsin, at least I do. I would say most Wisconsin residents don't give a hoot about Minnesota and how wonderful they are in your eyes with open pit iron mines.Screw'em. Amazing how many, many residents of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area head for the Wisconsin North Woods instead on their own pockmarked north.
Dirk Gutzmiller January 05, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Craig - We all spent 20 years somewhere. Not sure why working in a foundry (so what?) gives you any special license, particularly to make such coarse, smutty comments aimed at someone you disagree with in a public forum like Patch.
Steve ® January 05, 2013 at 12:38 AM
How many head to iron county?
WPN1488 January 05, 2013 at 04:53 AM
DNA studies have shown that residents of the Appalachian area of the US descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps Turkish slaves or Gypsies. Most people that reside in Appalachia are considered Caucasian which is not true. The people of Appalachia are a mixed and dubious brood.
Dirk Gutzmiller January 05, 2013 at 03:29 PM
WPN1488 - Your comments are appallingly racist, but do sadly reflect the Tea Party elite's supremicist attitudes toward others and are endorsed quietly by most of the ultra-right wing commenters on Patch. I notice none are disclamining you, they seem to celebrate you. At least you are willing to display your ignorance and prejudice to all. You are also dangerously ignorant of race. All those other "races" you mention are Caucasian! Most Appalachians come from Scotch-Irish roots, or others from Colonial America. In fact, many of your "redneck" buddies in your trailer park probably have Appalachian roots. And did you know that almost all Pakistanis, Afgans, Indians, etc. are Caucasian?
WPN1488 January 05, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Radical environmentalism is a preoccupation within the white race; no other race gives a damn about the condition of the earth. These radical Shorewood Progressives want to save the rain forests, the whales, birds, flowers, snail darters and the ozone layer; but ask them if they want to save the white race and they will be horrified and call you racist. What's the point of saving the earth if our progeny won't be enjoying it? The billions of Chinese and Indians that will inherit the earth will simply exploit it to destruction as they’re already doing today. To save the earth whites must first save their own kind! But try explaining that to one of those radical Shorewood Progressives.
Dirk Gutzmiller January 05, 2013 at 04:03 PM
WPN1488 - Suggest you get one of the latest DNA tests, you are most likely a Neanderthal. But then, maybe I am insulting that species.
The Anti-Alinsky January 05, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Dirk, DO NOT EVEN TRY to equate the Tea Party with WPN's outlandish and racist comments. I am sorry to say I stood up for WPN when TaoistCrocodile (prematurely but correctly) labelled him a Nazi racist. When the evidence presented itself I was the one that had to acknowledge Tao as correct. And I think we all know how much I hate to do that. Regardless, the Tea Party stands for smaller government and lower taxes. How do you get racism out of that? True, there may be one or two racists in the Tea Party movement, but there are some in the Democratic party as well.
Lyle Ruble January 05, 2013 at 10:04 PM
@Anti-Alinsky....I don't think most Tea Party, Republicans or conservatives believe or support the garbage that people like WPM1488 advocates. I view the Tea Party Movement as singularly libertarian in nature. Anyone who makes the mistake and believes all conservatives are the same doesn't understand just as all liberals aren't the same.
The Anti-Alinsky January 06, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Thank you Lyle. That's exactly my point. Now can you get Dirk to understand that?
Steve ® January 06, 2013 at 04:57 AM
Good luck. He is against jobs and progress. Drill holes my friends.
Bren January 06, 2013 at 10:13 PM
According to the recent Putnam/Campbell study (published 2011), the Tea Party is authoritarian, not libertarian. Some "highlights" from the study: "So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do." The study was based on findings gleaned from updating an earlier political science study conducted before the birth of the Tea Party. You can read more here: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/08/17/new-data-tea-party-is-authoritarian-not-libertarian/#.UOn2Am_LQbo
The Anti-Alinsky January 07, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Bren, did you actually read the Times article itself? ( http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/opinion/crashing-the-tea-party.html ) They are basing their "conclusions" on opinions of their interviewees. To begin their analysis they write: "...As a result, we can look at what people told us, long before there was a Tea Party, to predict who would become a Tea Party supporter five years later..." Unless a large part of their interviewees are Tea Partiers, there is no way they can get a true prediction, only an impression of what makes up a Tea Partier. They then proceed with: "...concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters..." "...they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do..." "...the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics..." "...On everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans..." Considering their sources are simply opinions, they suppose too much. From my experience, Tea Partiers support exactly what they advertise, smaller government & lower taxes. No, I am not a member, don't go to all the events or know all members. But I have had enough exposure to confidently say Putnam and Campbell are wrong.

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