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Thursday, November 14, 2013

 10:32 PM 

Assembly passes limits on access to mine sites

The Assembly has concurred 54-39 in a Senate bill to limit public access near mining equipment and related roads in the state’s managed forest land program.

The Senate passed an amended proposal last week to create 600-foot parameters, aimed at protecting a proposed mine site in northern Wisconsin.

Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, said the “extreme and unnecessary” response to one video of a confrontation between workers and protesters threatens to “harm and limit the rights of law-abiding people in the north.” Republicans rejected her amendment to shrink the parameters to 300 feet.

Republicans also shot down a series of amendments from Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink, D-Milladore, aimed at providing more hunting, fishing and trapping access on affected land.

Rep. Jeff Mursau, R-Crivitz, said Gogebic Taconite -- which is seeking to open the proposed iron ore mine -- has tried to accommodate hunters as best as possible while safeguarding their workers in the area, and that altering the managed forest land program is the best way to accomplish that.

Bewley responded, “This is supposed to be land that has public access.”

“It isn’t this body, it isn’t the public, it is a company who gets to decide if, on a given day, somebody gets to hunt.”


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