Last week, the Wisconsin Assembly passed the controversial iron ore mining legislation on a party-line vote with all the Republicans voting for AB 426 and all Democrats opposing it.
Proponents of the bill argue that the legislation will bring badly needed jobs to northern Wisconsin, where mining company Gogebic Taconite is planning to construct an iron ore mine. Opponents argue that mining will harm the environment. Proponents counter that the legislation will still require a mining company to obtain state and federal environmental permits and comply with all environmental regulations.
The legislation requires the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to approve a mining permit within a year, and removes contested case hearings, which are typically used by environmentalists to stall the permit process.
The bill now heads to the Senate where passing it will prove more difficult given the slim majority held by Senate Republicans. Senator Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn), chair of the Senate Select Mining Jobs Committee, had indicated it is likely the Senate will amend the bill.
If the Senate makes changes to the bill, the Assembly would have to approve or reject those changes.
To learn more about the mining legislation, please see Hamilton Consulting Group’s mining webpage.
This post was authored by Andrew Cook.