Lobbyists make pitch for balance, bipartisanship in miningIron ore mining in northern Wisconsin will be a Superior Days issue when citizen-lobbyists head to Madison on Feb. 21.
By: By Lucy Roberts/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Iron ore mining in northern Wisconsin will be a Superior Days issue when citizen-lobbyists head to Madison on Feb. 21. Even though the proposed mining bill in northern Wisconsin is contentious, Superior Days lobbyists hope to shed light on the pros and cons of mining in a bipartisan manner. Cliff Grand of the Ashland Area Development Corporation says the proposed mine could be extremely beneficial to the entire state.
“It’s a huge economic impact,” Grand says. “This is a huge number of jobs, but if it’s done, it’s got to be done right, and it could benefit the whole state of Wisconsin.”
Grand also says that if the mining is to benefit the state, it must be done properly.
That starts with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“Not only does the DNR have to issue permits about wetlands; they’ve got to issue permits about water, they’ve got to issue permits about tailings. But the Army Corps of Engineers is included for permits, and Environmental Protection Agency is included for permits, so it would be a huge project, but going through the proper steps can be a very safe project. With the current reclamation laws this can be done very properly as a very low impact, considering the state of Wisconsin, considering the benefits that can come from it,” Grand says.
According to the mining issue write-up in the Superior Days handout, citizen-lobbyists will request that mining be done in an environmentally responsible manner, balancing economic and environmental policies. They will also request that the public infrastructure in the affected region, as well as private and municipal wells, be upgraded and protected.