MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WSAU) – Governor Scott Walker said in Milwaukee today that a final mining bill would have to be different than the two measures currently proposed.
The Republican governor went to Joy Global, a large mining equipment maker, to insist that a mining package would have to streamline the current regulatory process and not hurt the environment.
Walker said a delay in passing a bill could cost the state 2,300 jobs.
Walker said the version passed by the Assembly must be changed – and there’s not enough support for a more moderate compromise offered by Senators Dale Schultz and Bob Jauch. Walker said his administration is talking to Schultz, Janesville Democrat Tim Cullen, and other senators in the hopes of getting a compromise in the Senate.
But time is running out. An agreement would have to be reached by the time the current session ends on March 15th, or the measure would die until at least next year. And by then, Gogebic Taconite has said it might scrap its proposed iron ore mine near Hurley.
Assembly Republicans have approved a bill with a 360-day time limit for the state to approve new iron ore mines like the one proposed by Gogebic. It would relax environmental standards, prevent opponents from challenging D-N-R decisions, and give the state 40-percent of what’s taxed on products from a mine.
The Schultz-Jauch bill would allow a 540-day time limit, allow the contested case hearings, and reduce the state’s take.