MADISON– Twenty-four business groups – whose members employ hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin workers – called on the Legislature today to approve iron mining reforms needed to help launch environmentally safe mining in Northwest Wisconsin.
“We are writing to urge your support for legislation that will allow Wisconsin to take advantage of an historic job creation and economic development opportunity,” the groups wrote to lawmakers. “Enactment of an iron mining law will help create thousands of Wisconsin jobs for generations to come without sacrificing the environment.”
The letter is signed by a wide array of industry including chambers of commerce, construction industry, utility, grocers, the tavern league, banking, utilities, restaurants, road builders, and others.
“This letter demonstrates clearly that the business community is united in support of passing common sense iron mining reforms that will protect the environment while allowing iron mines to operate in Wisconsin,” said Scott Manley, WMC environmental policy director.
The letter states:
“The Gogebic iron ore deposit in Iron and Ashland Counties is one of the largest remaining iron deposits in the United States. The permitting, construction and development of an iron mine will produce thousands of family-supporting jobs, billions of dollars of economic activity, and more than a billion dollars in additional tax revenues for state and local governments.
“Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s current metallic mining laws are unworkable. Developed decades ago to primarily regulate sulfide mining, our current laws are a costly, time-consuming and uncertain set of regulations that discourage investment in mining. Quite simply, the Gogebic deposit will not be developed, and thousands of jobs will not be created, without enactment of a permitting and regulatory framework that recognizes the comparatively small environmental footprint of iron mining.
“Legislation to create an iron mining law will, we believe, be introduced in the near future. This legislation should draw heavily on the Wisconsin DNR’s own mining regulations to the extent they apply appropriately to iron mining, and integrate concepts from laws in Minnesota and Michigan – both of whom have been safely mining iron ore for more than one-hundred years.”
The mine enjoys broad support in Wisconsin, Manley said, including the editorial support of the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . “It’s time to move this legislation forward to create thousands of high-wage jobs,” Manley said.
For Further Information Contact:
Scott Manley, (608) 258-3400