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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Senate mining bill on life support, call Senators to save!

THE ECONOMY, WISCONSIN, Legislation

Sixteen Democrats and one Republican in Wisconsin's State Senate put a stake in the heart of the mining industry in our state on Tuesday, when the Senate version compromise bill was narrowly defeated by 1 vote. If Republican Dale Shultz or even just one Democrat would have voted in favor of this bill, Gogebic Taconite, G-Tac, wouldn't be leaving for more mining friendly, and also iron rich, Minnesota and Michigan.

It seemed any hope of streamlining the mining approval process with a mining reform bill was dead, because the Senate session ends on March 15th. But yesterday and today it seems there just might be a glimmer of hope to revive this job-rich bill.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp spoke on both the Mark Belling Show yesterday and Vicki McKenna's radio program today. She emphasized how the Senate Mining Bill did not circumvent DNR rules as opponents said; it just set a timeline, a shorter deadline, for a mine's approval process. Each specific mine proposal would still have to meet DNR, Army Corps of Engineers, etc. requirements.

So what wasn't to like? The failed Senate mining bill added improved wet land creation in its language over present legislation, it was backed by 9 private sector unions, and G-Tac assured 95% of the jobs created would be union jobs.

Vicki also emphasized today that iron mining is NOT strip mining, but pit mining. We are familiar with pit mining in almost every area of Wisconsin because it is the same type of mining that rock quarries use. The G-Tac mine pit would be 15 acres in size, about the size of the square block I live on. Once all the iron ore was extracted, it would be restored. In fact, beautiful Lake Wazee, the deepest inland lake in Wisconsin, is a good example of the aftermath of a former taconite quarry or pit mine.

If Democrat Senators like Tim Carpenter (608) 266-8535 or Chris Larson (608) 266-7505 will rethink their votes, since their districts could benefit from the increase in jobs at mine equipment builders Caterpillar or Joy Global in Milwaukee, the mining bill and the mining industry in Wisconsin could be saved. If not, we have just secured our place in the race to the bottom for the most unfriendly mine locations in the world.

So it is up to the residents of this state to make one last plea to their Senator to change their mind on voting for mining in Wisconsin. Hopefully, they will reconsider. If just one Senator does, the mining bill could make a miraculous recovery and all of Wisconsin will benefit.

Find your State Senator here. Be polite; you are making an appeal.

More Reading:
Gogebic drops plans for iron ore mine
And now we know
Hurley residents decry 'devastating' collapse of Wisconsin mining bill
Wisconsin Tea Party Reaction to Mining Debacle

Past Post: Wisconsin Senate mining bill took wrong turn, now better
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