Reforms Foster Job Creation, Environmental Protection
MADISON – The state’s Chamber of Commerce and largest business association Wednesday urged the Legislature to pass comprehensive iron mining reforms to foster job creation, while protecting the environment.
WMC Vice President of Government Relations Scott Manley told a joint Assembly and Senate committee hearing today that time has come for iron mining reforms to be enacted. Governor Scott Walker has endorsed the iron mining reforms, and the Legislation is the highest priority in both houses having been introduced as Senate Bill 1 and Assembly Bill 1.
“The comprehensive mining reforms proposed in the legislation before you will help create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic impacts from mining, while maintaining robust environmental protections,” Manley said. “The legislation directly addresses many of the key deficiencies in our current law.”
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.
“The income from high-paying mining jobs would literally change the standard of living for this area,” Manley said.
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.
The Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining & Revenue and the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy & Mining held the joint hearing today at the Capitol on the iron mining reforms. Governor Walker urged swift passage in his state of the state address earlier this month.