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Thursday, March 7, 2013

 3:17 PM 

Debate on final passage continues

During the debate on final passage, several Dems decried the iron mining bill, saying again that the proposed GTAC mine is likely to cause environmental damage and that the DNR's hands would be tied to do much about it.

Several Democrats said that the bill violated the Public Trust Doctrine and would likely be subject to lawsuits.

"Admit that this is going to be in court for a long time, and stop calling it a jobs bill," said Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine.

Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, at one point offered a sketch of an alternative proposal, which he dubbed "Brett's mine" saying that a smaller, more responsible mining project could get approved in one and a half years under current law. But he warned that a new mining bill would do nothing to create a new mine.

"If you pass this bill, there will not be a mine and there will not be mining jobs," Hulsey said.

Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, said that potential for lawsuits shouldn't detract from the need to create a bill that will create jobs and said that they should go ahead and "sue us."

"But that's not going to stop us from doing our job, which is to pass legislation that will be good for our state and improve our employment situation," Ott said.

Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, said there was a "false argument going on that there is business on one side and the environment on the other side." He argued that he would rather have mining companies extracting iron ore in Wisconsin, where proper infrastructure exists to support mining, than in a place like the Amazon rainforest, where mining companies are currently looking to excavate iron ore.


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