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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

 12:45 PM 

Cullen starts debate on his mining substitute amendment

Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, began debate from the Democrats by touching on every major flashpoint in the bill -- including timelines, mining waste and the contested case hearing process.

"If you've got to figure out where to put 29 million tons of waste in an area that has an enormous amount of water ... where do you put the waste without putting it in the water," Cullen said. "That is the core, simple issue of this legislation."

Cullen also highlighted his substitute amendment, which is currently being considered, as relying upon the input of mining experts and environmental advocates and providing a more measured way of conducting iron mining in the state.

Cullen said that his substitute amendment's timeline -- which allows about two years for the DNR to go through the permit process -- was based upon an agreement from the George Meyer of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Tim Sullivan of the Wisconsin Mining Association. He argued that the memorandum of understanding included in the GOP version of the bill doesn't make sense if it happens before the process has started.

"It makes much more sense to have the timeline decisions to be able to be agreed upon as the timeline unfolds," Cullen said.

Cullen is now explaining the merits of the contested case hearing.



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