Wisconsin Mining Assoc. urges Senate to back mining bill

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Mining Association (WMA) is urging the state Senate to follow the Assembly's example and pass a bill which regulates permitting and operations of iron mining in Wisconsin. Assembly passage of the bill came Thursday evening.

In a news release issued early Friday afternoon, the WMA issued the following statement...

“This bill is long overdue, and we applaud the Assembly for approving it. Now it’s on to the Senate where we call for swift passage so that Wisconsin can move forward with needed job creation,” said Tim Sullivan, former president and CEO of Bucyrus and now chairman of the WMA. “Wisconsin’s Gogebic iron ore deposit could produce thousands of good jobs, give our economy a welcome boost and generate millions of dollars for essential local government services, schools and roads. The bill continues Wisconsin’s commitment to public safety and stringent environmental standards, while improving Wisconsin’s ability to compete for jobs, businesses and investors.”

The Assembly version of the bill was designed to clear the way for Gogebic Taconite's plans to open an iron mine near Lake Superior. The company has claimed their project will create hundreds of jobs. Conservationists, though, fear the mine will pollute one of the most pristine regions in the state and hurt the tourism industry. But Republican lawmakers are looking for ways to deliver on campaign promises to create jobs.

After nearly four-and-a-half hours of debate Thursday, the measure passed on a 59-36 vote.