Assembly to Vote on Mining Bill

The Assembly is expected to debate and pass Assembly Bill 426 on January 26th. Supporters of the bill argue that the bill is needed due to the uncertainty of current permitting laws and rules implemented by the Department of Natural Resources, which they say discourage investment in mining. Moreover, proponents argue that the new law will provide jobs without harming the environment. Environmental groups oppose the legislation arguing that it will harm the environment.

Below are just a few of the changes the legislation will make to the permitting process:

  • Establish a clearly defined permit process, such as determining when a mining application is complete and setting a deadline for a permit decision (360 days).
  • Establish standards that must be met before DNR can grant a permit for water withdrawals and navigable water impacts (under Wis. Chap. 30).
  • Allow for minimal wetland disturbance during the mining process, but require mitigation to achieve a net increase in wetlands.
  • Continue to allow for public participation, but eliminate contested case hearings, which often delay projects.
  • Continue to require a mining operator to get all of the permits and approvals normally required under current law.

Hamilton’s complete analysis of the bill as introduced is available here. Read Hamilton’s blog or follow @HCG500 on Twitter for the latest information and updates.

This post was authored by Andrew Cook.