Democrats will hold public mining session up northDemocrats in the Assembly and Senate want to hold a mining bill listening session in Ashland, even though Republican bill sponsors have no plans to hold a hearing up north.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Democrats in the Assembly and Senate want to hold a mining bill listening session in Ashland, even though Republican bill sponsors have no plans to hold a hearing up north.
Senator Tim Cullen says it’s important to hear from people up north.
“I intend to take this bill to northern Wisconsin, probably to Ashland County, to hold a listening session,” he said.
Gogebic Taconic had proposed a $1.5 billion iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron Counties along the Gogegic Range. A new bill is expected to pave the way for the company to begin the permitting process.
That’s all the more reason why Representative Janet Bewley of Ashland says a hearing needs to happen in her area.
“Up north, they need to be as involved in this process as people down here,” Bewley said. “And if you’re up north and you don’t have a way to have your voice heard, it just doesn’t feel like democracy to me.”
Bewley says it’s hard for working people to get away and drive five hours to Madison. So they have tentatively set February 9th for a listening session in Ashland.
State Senator Bob Jauch of Poplar has the farthest haul. He participated in the hearing by telephone from Hawaii where his daughter is getting married. But it didn’t stop him from objecting to the public hearing in Madison only.
“Madame Chairman, will you explain to me about how I’m going to be able to participate on behalf of the citizens who can’t get there from northern Wisconsin?” he asked.
Jauch’s office says they are making one last appeal to Republican bill sponsors to hold a hearing up north. Otherwise, Democrats could only have a listening session, which doesn’t carry the weight of testimony given at a hearing.