Economy and Business
Thu January 3, 2013
Legislature Set For Round Two On New Mining Law
The legislature's first order of business is expected to be a "streamlined" mining bill. Republicans will now control both houses. A mining bill was pulled before a vote last spring. Majority lawmakers now say they may now have the votes to pass a revised version.
Gov. Scott Walker kicked off a push for a new mining bill with trips to businesses in three Wisconsin cities. At a welding and fabrication shop in Green Bay, he said an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin would generate up to 3,000 jobs across the state.
Some local communities in Ashland and Iron counties--where the Gegobic mine would operate--objected to the last bill, saying it wouldn't compensate them for wear and tear on infrastructure. Walker pointed to resolutions passed in Iron County, indicating community leaders want the development, "Iron County is one of the most economically depressed areas in the state of Wisconsin. So they certainly want the work. I think there's a way not only with the legislation but working with local governments to make sure that they're in a good position. In the end the best thing is for them, is going to be having more people at work in their communities."
A first year state Senator, Tom Tiffany from northern Wisconsin, will head a new version of the mining committee.
One of his Democratic colleagues on the committee is Bob Jauch, also from far northern Wisconsin. He has doubts as to how local communities will be compensated, "It looks to me like Senator-elect Tiffany who'll be the new mining committee chair--that he doesn't give a damn about communities in northern Wisconsin, wants to keep the inadequate law on net proceeds which basically means taxpayers have the last draw and may not see a dime in revenues for many years."
The new bill will likely be unveiled next week.