Conservation, mining, tribal groups to hold meetings to create iron ore mining billGroups on the opposite end of the debate over an iron ore mine permitting bill are getting together behind the scenes to work out new legislation.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Groups on the opposite end of the debate over an iron ore mine permitting bill are getting together behind the scenes to work out new legislation.
With the encouragement of Gov. Walker and mining bill sponsors from both parties, the National Wildlife Federation's director has met with the president of the Wisconsin Mining Association to lay the groundwork for future meetings. Mining Association director Kennan Wood says along with geologists and environmental groups, mining interests would be at the table.
"And ask them whether or not that piece of legislation will work for them, because if we create legislation that doesn't work for an investor, then we're not creating legislation that works for Wisconsin,” Wood said. “And that's not to suggest we don't care about the environment. You have to take a look at the environment as well, but there's a balance."
Wood hopes to get something done this year.
"We definitely have to get beyond the upcoming recall elections in both the senate and gubernatorial races,” Wood said. “Our hope would be we could get something done before November elections but you never know."
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Director George Meyer says progress will be made if partisan politics are put aside.
"Once that occurs, the science and practicality of things sort of goes out the window,” he said. “I believe that over the next few months, a few of us working around a larger table would be able to bridge most of the gap, maybe all of the gap."
Meyer says conservation groups, the Bad River Tribe, local governments, along with mining interests should be at that larger table. He believes a solution can be reached this year.