Wisconsin Budget Panel Approves Mining Bill
The bill has reignited the fight with conservationists, but this time Republicans have a larger majority in the Senate, making passage appear inevitable.
The finance committee's four Democrats ripped the bill Monday as a "sweetheart deal" for Gogebic Taconite. They tried to attach a half-dozen amendments to the bill Monday, including imposing a tax on ore a mining company extracts, removing a $2 million cap on permit application fees, allowing contested cases before the final decision and removing the presumption wetland damage is necessary and ensuring the DNR can't issue a permit unless the agency is certain the mine won't hurt the public.
"We seem hell-bent to move forward on a flawed bill," Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, said.
Darling told the Democrats she was getting tired of them misrepresenting the bill. She insisted the bill balances the environment with jobs. Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, the committee's co-chairman, argued people in northwestern Wisconsin are desperate for jobs.Republicans killed every Democratic amendment on a party-line vote. The debate lasted only a little more than two hours. "Wisconsin is one step closer to thousands of good-paying jobs in our state," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, said in a statement afterward. "This bill provides business a level of certainty that they need in order to invest in Wisconsin and our workforce."
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