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State Mining Bill Push Begins with Public Hearing

Backers and opponents of mining legislation filled a more than 100-seat hearing room and two overflow rooms in the Capitol to be heard on the prospect of a mine in the state.

Last March, one Republican lawmaker held up passage of a GOP-backed bill that would have paved the way for construction of an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. 

With a majority in the state Assembly and Senate this legislative session, GOP lawmakers labeled mining legislation a top priority and began their push with an all-day public hearing Wednesday.

Backers and opponents of the mining legislation filled a more than 100-seat hearing room in the Capitol and two overflow rooms to be heard on the prospect of a mine in the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Those backing the legislation say it would bring jobs to a local economy that currently doesn’t offer many opportunities, while the opposing faction says the bill would weaken environmental protections, in particular for wetlands, groundwater and surface water, the newspaper writes.

And, while GOP lawmakers are still pushing mining regulation reform — introducing essentially the same bill last week — state Sen. Tim Cullen, a Democrat from Janesville, countered Tuesday with his own piece of legislation. Cullen says the bill would “uphold Wisconsin’s environmental requirements while also providing certainty to the mining industry.”

“Democrats and Republicans alike heard the same recommendations from mining experts that I did, and I stand by this bill as a realistic solution to the mining industry’s request for certainty,” Cullen said in a statement Tuesday.

Democratic Leader Chris Larson hailed the bill as an important first step toward bipartisanship in the Senate. Republican lawmakers told reporters on Wednesday they would meet with the sponsors of the alternative bill and perhaps pull from it for the original legislation, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Democrats are calling for more hearings, especially in the northern portion of the state, but Republicans say Wednesday’s will be the only one. Democrats also took issue with time limits imposed on questioning. 

Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Tiny planet ??? ... Preserve what is left ??? Talk about gullible low-information rubes ... you, sir, should stop accepting every liberal rant and do some homework. There are abundant resources, and industry has done a marvelous job of incorporating respectful profitable operation with community building. The obvious benefit to inviting industry to our state is the opportunity for utilizing our resources, rather than buying from others - creating job opportunities, instead of handing out unemployment checks - establishing successful private industry, instead of demanding someone else pay our bills. I'm sure you can find a examples that weren't appropriately implemented, but the vast majority of industry has improved, and continues to be the life blood of the future. The stonewalling that Steve has consistently pointed out is a problem that needs to be arrested. The fact that we have government bodies that can simply "table", or endlessly delay resolution (see the US Senate as the worst offenders) for future opportunity is a path to austerity.
Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Dominic ... they immigrated here as well, check your history. The current generations should respect where they are, instead of wasting emotion on century old history. As far as reprehensible ancestors ... they can be found in every culture - world wide - ... why restrict your angst in one small area, with one small group?
Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:22 PM
I invite opportunities in my backyard, if that is where they exist. It means growth and revenue ... we could use it.
Bottom Line January 27, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Dominic ... you seem to overlook quite a bit of lamentable history while you stand on "your land" that is part of a "planet" that is "not ours". We have as much right as any in the State to pursue opportunity ... protectionist activity simply delays opportunity, or ensures it occurs somewhere else. Acting humanely would require respect for the endeavors of those that risk for reward, create opportunity for others, and do so in spite of the reprehensible attitudes of people that cannot acknowledge the benefits we have inherited as a result of their behavior. Let's move forward, that our inheritors, of every culture, appreciate the efforts of our generation ... instead of our debt.
morninmist January 27, 2013 at 06:30 PM
The TeaGOP is a the party of ruin! .............. @mostawesomeblog HOUSE GOP: 46 Abortion Bills, 113 Religion Bills, 73 Family

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