A coalition of conservation groups that includes the Sierra Club and Trout Unlimited released a statement urging lawmakers to reject any changes to mining law, calling the mine plans "the most destructive industrial project the state has ever faced."
"We remind legislators that they represent all of Wisconsin's citizens and the clean air and water we rely on, not one mining company with a hugely destructive proposal," Dave Blouin, chairman of the Sierra Club's Wisconsin chapter's mining committee, said in the statement.
Bob Walesewicz, chairman of the Iron County town of Carey, which lies near the mine site, told reporters during the Republican news conference that iron mining went on in northwestern Wisconsin for decades and the environment remains unspoiled.
"Wisconsin is a working landscape and mining is part of our heritage," he said. "Isn't there some value in the experience we've had so far with mining? Our families are healthy. Our water is clear. We drink it every day."He then turned to the dozens of Republicans flanking him. "The workers," he said, "need your vote."