UPDATE: Mining bill moves on to the full legislature - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Mining bill moves on to the full legislature

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MADISON (WKOW ) -- A bill to streamline the process for iron mining in Wisconsin is heading to the State Senate.

Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee added a few small changes to the bill and shot down six Democratic amendments before moving it forward 12-4, on a party-line vote.

The outnumbered Democrats tried to use emotion and an increasing public sentiment against the bill to their advantage.

"We seem hell bent on going forward with a deeply flawed bill that won't create any jobs, other than the lawyers that are gonna be litigating this for many years to come," said Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine).

"There will be jobs created, there will," responded Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).

Jobs or not, a recent poll from Public Policy Polling shows 62 percent of Wisconsin voters are against the mining bill, while just 29 percent support it.

If approved, it would allow mining company Gogebic Taconite to establish an open pit iron ore mine just south of Lake Superior.

Rep. Mason offered a number of amendments to the bill, asking for changes to environmental standards and the way mining companies would be taxed.

"It would be a sweetheart deal for the mining company.  But it would be a raw deal for the Wisconsin citizens, who are going to have to their natural resources removed into perpetuity and not receive their fair share of resources," said Rep. Mason.

Republicans say those changes would kill any chances of a mining company locating here.

"Our objective is to create jobs," said Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield).  "And I'm always amazed in this building how fast the objective changes and all of a sudden the objective becomes lets create more revenue to create more government to create more programs."

Republicans made 11 minor changes to the original bill before passing it.  Some blasted Democrats for promoting misinformation.

"Economic issues have to be balanced by environmental concerns and we showed you a whole list of things that have been changed," said Sen. Darling.  "So, I'm just concerned that a lot that's being said is not accurate."

The bill now moves on to the Senate, where a vote is already expected on Wednesday.  Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) opposes the bill, but Democrats would have to hope at least one more Republican votes against the bill in order to stop it.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Republican mining bill is headed to the full Senate and Assembly.

The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill on a 12-4 party line vote.

The Senate is expected to take up the measure on Wednesday. The Assembly is expected to follow next week. It's expected to pass in both cases, since Republicans control both houses.

The bill is designed to clear the way for Gogebic Taconite to open an iron ore mine near Lake Superior. Republicans say the mine would create hundreds of jobs for the region. Democrats are concerned about its impact on the environment.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Legislature's Budget Committee is scheduled to vote on the state's controversial mining bill Monday.

A Senate vote is set for Wednesday and the Assembly is expected to vote during the first week in March, possibly MArch 6.

The measure is designed to help Gogebic Taconite build a large iron mine near Lake Superior.

Democrats and environmentalists worry it would open the door for pollution in a pristine area.

 

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