Saukville State Legislator Says Passage of Mining Bill Good for Entire State
Once signed by Gov. Scott Walker, mining legislation will create thousands of jobs in all parts of the state, GOP legislators say.
State Representative Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) who represents Saukville said the state mining bill that passed the Assembly on Thursday will ultimately lead to the creation of more jobs throughout the Wisconsin — not just northern Wisconsin.
“This bill has been in the public’s eye for over two years, with numerous hearings throughout the state encouraging extensive public input," Stroebel said in a release. "The bill we voted on today represents a culmination of this process, and I am pleased that both houses were able to take positive action. Additionally, I believe that this opportunity for economic growth is paramount in bringing family-supporting jobs to the people of Wisconsin."
Opponents called 'Chicken Littles'
State Rep. Joel Kleefsich (R-Oconomowoc) called opponents of the mine "Chicken Littles" who "insist everything will be destroyed if we begin mining the huge deposit of iron ore in the Gogebic range."
Instead, he said: "The new law creates the opportunity for thousands of badly needed jobs and economic activity. And, most important, Wisconsin will remain one of the most beautiful places on Earth."
Their comments came after the state Assembly gave final legislative approval to the measure that will pave the way for a Gogebic Taconite to dig a large iron mine near Lake Superior.
The bill dramatically reworks Wisconsin's mining rules, according to Patch's media partners at WISN 12 News. It puts a deadline on a final permit decision and declares any wetland damage as presumed necessary, the station reported.
"It’s disheartening to hear that opponents of the mining bill are vowing an attempt to tie-up this legislation for years in the courts," Stroebel said. "Our system is based upon the will of the people being enacted through their representatives—not a vocal minority frustrating the will of the people by running to the courthouse whenever they lose after a deliberate and inclusive legislative process. In spite of this tact, I am convinced the will of the people will prevail, and this legislation will soon result in positive benefits for the people of Wisconsin.”
Walker poised to sign bill into law
The bill, which the Senate passed last week, was approved by the Assembly on a a 58-39 vote. It now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who said he will sign it.
"On behalf of the unemployed skilled workers in our state who will benefit from the thousands of mining-related jobs over the next few years, I say thank you for passing a way to streamline the process for safe and environmentally sound mining in Wisconsin," Walker said in a statement.
The bill was passed after two years of debate over whether the proposed mine would harm the environment.
Opponents say GOP 'dismantled' mining laws
Environmentalists say the bill clears the way for the mine to pollute one of the last pristine areas in the state, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. They appear poised to challenge the legislation in court. The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, whose reservation lies just north of the mine site where the Bad River empties into Lake Superior, could pose a potent legal roadblock, the State Journal said.
The Sierra Club urged Walker to veto the legislation because of the negative impact the groups says a mine would have on the environment.
“Assembly Republicans today dismantled state mining laws to benefit Gogebic Taconite despite overwhelming public opposition,” said Dave Blouin, Sierra Club Mining Committee chairman. “With their votes today, Assembly Republicans demonstrated their allegiance to corporate donors and the extremist agenda to gut environmental laws that protect ourlands, air, water and public health."