Wis. Mining Association urges lawmakers to change mining laws
Association chairman testifies before Senate committee
The Wisconsin Mining Association is lobbying lawmakers to again try to change Wisconsin's mining laws next session.
The Senate Select Committee on Mining has been taking testimony from invited speakers on how to start over or change legislation on iron ore mining that failed last session.
Former Bucyrus CEO and Wisconsin Mining Association Chairman Tim Sullivan testified before the committee Thursday morning.
He told lawmakers that the current laws are a "job-stopper" and that they should use the controversial mining bill from last session as a starting point to revamp both iron and other mining laws in the state.
"Wisconsin's current law is for all intents and purposes a ban on mining and investors around the world have recognized it as such by refusing to invest in our state," Sullivan said.
The association surveyed other states, including Alaska, Montana, Michigan and Minnesota for their mining practices. Sullivan told the committee that reform to the state's laws should consider that each mine is different and focus more on scientific testing. He encouraged the state to lead any environmental impact studies, but warned that any new law should be crafted "with an eye toward federal law."
Democrats have argued that mining company Gogebic Taconite helped draft much of the last bill. The company then pulled out of a northern Wisconsin project when the bill failed.
On Thursday, Sullivan said the Wisconsin Mining Association should be a key player in any future discussions.
Gov. Scott Walker told manufacturers Wednesday he thinks Gogebic Taconite would reconsider building a mine in Wisconsin if a new mining laws are passed.
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