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Thursday, March 7, 2013

 10:07 AM 

Democrats start debate on mining bill

While it looks like the Democrats are going to limit debate to about an hour on their first substitute amendment, Democrats came out of the gate saying that Republicans went about the mining bill the wrong way.

Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, said that the state Legislature seemed to go out of its way to appease a mining company at the expense of the environment, saying that it "started out by asking the wrong question."

"How far do we have to bend over backwards to get a mine, any mine, built here in Wisconsin at any price," Clark said.

Clark said that they'll be speaking throughout the debate about how the bill abdicates Wisconsin's responsibility to protect the environment.

Speaker Robin Vos countered that Republicans have made an effort to improve the original bill they started with two years ago and that the Department of Natural Resources is still empowered to enforce environmental standards.

However, Vos said that some members of the Democratic caucus were being unrealistic if they wanted standards that ensured absolutely no damage would occur as a result of mining.

"That's just impossible," Vos said. "So if that's the standard it's going to take get member to vote for this bill, I guess I can't expect people to change their minds."


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