Gov. Scott Walker signed the mining bill into law Monday, effectively changing Wisconsin’s permitting process for companies who wish to open mines in the state.
Walker said in a press release Monday he hopes the law will create thousands of jobs for private sector workers in the state while continuing Wisconsin’s “tradition” of clean water, land and air.
“Wisconsin’s seal and the state flag both depict mining in our great state,” Walker said in the statement. “In light of our mining tradition, I’m thrilled to sign legislation into law protecting environmental safeguards while providing certainty to the mine permitting process.”
Also in a statement Monday, state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, a sponsor of the bill, called it a 21st century mining bill that gives the state an opportunity to revitalize the mining industry.
However, Democrats still oppose the bill, citing concerns over environmental protections as well as the influence of special interest groups.
State Rep. Fred Clark, D-Sauk City, called the bill a “blatant example in Wisconsin history of a major public policy that was custom-written by and for a single corporation” in a statement Monday, saying a majority of Wisconsin citizens have opposed the bill.
“Creating long-term prosperity for rural Wisconsin requires diversified economic development and the kind of strong environmental protections that promote recreation and quality of life,” Clark said in the statement.
Environmental and tribal groups of northern Wisconsin will likely challenge the bill in court.