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ASHLAND - Northern Wisconsin communities got the chance to voice their concerns about the new mining bill to state leaders on Saturday.
“I know how I would feel if somebody were to desire to impose a giant mine in my area without my constituents having an opportunity be a part of the discussion in a meaningful way,” Sen. Dale Schultz, R- Richland Center, said.
And for that reason, several Wisconsin state senators and representatives held a listening session in Ashland for those communities that would be affected by the proposed mines; also, for those that could not make it to the state capitol for Wednesday’s hearing.
“It’s just silly, eight or nine of us can get in our cars and we can drive up here and listen to them as opposed to the other alternative. Which is to say hundreds of people from up here are supposed to get up at 2 a.m. and get down to Madison on short notice for a hearing. That’s an absurd way to listen to people,” Sen. Tim Cullen, D – Janesville, said.
Republicans unveiled amendments to the GOP-backed mining bill Wednesday and said they have addressed environmental concerns and the new mind would create thousands of jobs without lowering environmental standards.
“I thought it was possible to create a bill that would provide for an environmentally balanced mining operation so that we could protect our environment and have jobs. That was the goal,” Schultz said.
Schultz has worked on both Republican and Democratic versions of the mining bill and said Cullen’s proposal is a good balance of addressing concerns from both sides.
“We think that we have met every stated public statement that the mining company had about what was wrong with Wisconsin’s law and we didn’t do substantial violence to Wisconsin’s environmental body,” Schultz said.
Cullen said he hopes the more people and leaders know about the issues and the facts, everybody will be able to come to an agreeable solution.