WMC Lauds Assembly Passage of Historic Iron Mining Reforms

Gov. Walker Slated to Sign Job Creation Legislation 

MADISON – The state’s Chamber of Commerce and largest business association Thursday lauded the state Assembly for passing iron mining reforms projected to foster thousands of jobs statewide.

Governor Scott Walker has said he will sign the environmentally safe iron mining reforms into law.  The new law would streamline permits needed to build and operate an iron mine while maintaining environmental protections.

“We are on the brink of making an historic breakthrough that will dramatically improve our business climate,” said Scott Manley, WMC Vice President of Government Relations.  “These reforms will help tell the world that Wisconsin is open for business.”

Wisconsin is home to one of the largest remaining iron ore deposits in North America. Roughly two billion tons of iron ore are located on privately-owned property in Ashland and Iron Counties – enough to sustain more than one-hundred years of mining. At $1.5 billion, it would be one of the largest private developments in state history.

A proposed iron mine in Iron County is expected to create 2,000 construction jobs as the mine is being constructed, and would employ 700 workers, and foster the creation of 2,100 jobs to support the mine. Mine employees would earn $60,000 annually, with more than $20,000 in benefits, far more than the average income in northern Wisconsin, Manley said.

Manley said key lawmakers took a leading role in the Assembly to ensure passage of the bill.

Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford), Assembly mining committee Chairwoman Mary Williams (R-Medford) and Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) teamed up to ensure passage of the bill.  “They were the jobs team,” Manley said.

“Their dedication to job creation was unparalleled, and the support of legislators from all ends of the state demonstrates the significance of the reforms,” Manley said.  “The job creation will ripple from the mine near Hurley to every corner of the state.”

The Assembly passed Senate Bill 1 today with a 58 to 39 vote.   The bill previously passed the Senate. The bill passed the Assembly last session but failed in the Senate. 

WMC’s polling has found consistent and overwhelming voter support for iron mining, Manley said.

“The passage of these reforms is a victory for working families in our state,” Manley said.  “And, the lawmakers who stood up for jobs deserve the highest praise.”

For Further Information Contact:
Scott Manley, (608) 258-3400

Related Material:
Mining Legislation Resource Center

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