Wisconsin Senate names mining committeeWith plans on the boards to begin a major taconite mining and processing operation in Ashland and Iron counties in coming years, the Wisconsin Senate on Thursday announced that a new mining committee has been appointed.
By: News Tribune staff, Superior Telegram
With plans on the boards to begin a major taconite mining and processing operation in Ashland and Iron counties in coming years, the Wisconsin Senate on Thursday announced that a new mining committee has been appointed.
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the seven-member Senate Select Committee on Mining Jobs includes Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar.
Gogebic Taconite has been exploring a taconite plant it says would employ about 700 direct mining jobs, 2,800 indirect jobs and create a $2 billion economic impact. Supporters say it will boost employment in an area hard-hit by a lingering lack of jobs. Opponents say that the large mine will disturb a scenic area while runoff could pollute nearby waters. It would be northern Wisconsin’s first major taconite operation and the first iron-ore operation in decades.
The committee won’t make any decisions on the future of mining — that will be up to state and federal regulatory agencies — but should help improve public discourse on the controversial proposal, Jauch said.
“I have been calling for the creation of this committee since last May following the effort to rush a controversial bill draft written by and for the mining company through the Legislative process,” Jauch said in a statement. “Mining is a complicated and controversial topic that deserves full public participation in a thoughtful dialogue on potential changes to the mining permitting process.
Our current mining laws were the result of extensive public discussion that led to consensus on policies that resulted in the permitting of the Ladysmith mine.”