Mining company ends plan to invest in state mine

MADISON -- Digging for votes and coming up empty. The mining bill which Republicans touted as a job creation plan, but Democrats saw as a threat to the environment, is dead.

The state Senate rejected the bill Tuesday night. On Wednesday, mining company Gogebic Taconite announced it will not invest in Wisconsin.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald considered the mining bill a piece of legislation that would have brought between 600 and 700 new jobs to a huge mine in northern Wisconsin.

"95% of the jobs that were going to be created, were going to be union jobs because this is politics over job creation," said Fitzgerald.

But Milwaukee Democratic State Senator Lena Taylor says the bill was rejected because it weighted things too heavily toward a private company, not the public interest.

"We need to do something on this issue and we need to do it right, we don't need to rush into it, we don't need to do it for one company because this will affect mines throughout Wisconsin," said Taylor.

The pivotal vote was cast by moderate Republican Dale Schultz. He sided with the Democrats. He wanted citizens to be able to contest mining permits before they're issued to companies.

"We wanted to preserve the right of people to have a voice in the process before the permits are," said Schultz.

This was the first contentious bill to test the Senate's post-recall set-up. The one-vote majority held by Republicans failed to hold.