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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Sen. Schultz

 

With amendment rejected, company scraps mining plans

Following the State Senate’s rejection Tuesday of a mining bill amendment meant to address legislators’ concerns, mining company Gogebic Taconite announced it will no longer pursue its proposed $1.5 billion iron mine in northern Wisconsin.

Hours before the Florida-based company announced it plans, the state Senate rejected an amendment that aimed to address concerns with the extent of the bill’s environmental deregulations.

Legislators didn’t vote on the bill itself—which would streamline the mining permit application process and roll back certain mining-related environmental regulations—but the amendment’s rejection was enough to terminate the potential project all together, according to Gogebic President Bill Williams.

“Senate rejection of the mining reforms in Assembly Bill 426 sends a clear message that Wisconsin will not welcome iron mining. We get the message,” Williams said in a release. “We thank the many people who have supported our efforts.”

Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, joined the 16 Democratic senators in opposing the Assembly Joint Finance Committee’s amendment to the bill, saying that the proposal did not go far enough in its environmental protections.

Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, warned against passing legislation that lacked the necessary environmental safeguards to prevent pollution of northern waterways surrounding the site of the proposed Gogebic mine.

“The people of this state have said over and over again, loudly and clearly, that they’re not against mining…[but] that they want it done in an intelligent, environmentally safe and sustainable way,” agreed Schultz.

Jauch, who had proposed an additional compromise amendment with Schultz that was not taken up Tuesday, said that acceptably protecting the nearby environment goes hand-in-hand with economic development.

“You cannot have responsible mining if you have an irresponsible mining law,” Jauch said. “[The economy] is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.”

The mining bill’s referral to the Senate’s Organization Committee will give legislators more time to rework the bill.

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