People voice concerns about new mining bill - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

People voice concerns about new mining bill


A new mining bill is heading to the Wisconsin legislature next week, the latest in a heated debate about mining in the state. 

The republican-controlled legislature will consider the bill. But Thursday night plenty of people against it voiced some strong concern. 

A mining bill is once again the center of controversy. These people at the labor temple in Wausau are against it.  

"The headwaters of our homeland the Bad River reservation," said Bad River Band Tribe Chairman, Mike Wiggins Jr. 

The bill would allow for an iron mine in Iron and Ashland Counties. The plan failed by one vote in the legislature last year. But it's back.  And supporters say its better. 

"I think we had a good bill last session, unfortunately it failed by one vote but we think that there is more support out there for the bill now and we're going to have a bill while it's very similar to the old structure to the previous bill, we've made improvements to it," said State Senator Tom Tiffany. 

State Senator Tom Tiffany says some of those improvements will make sure the mine doesn't pollute the environment.

Tiffany says an iron mine could be key to job creation.

"There will be 2000 jobs created in the construction phase which will last about 2 years, there will be 700 jobs created in the mine site itself over at least 35 years potentially as long as 100 years, and than we estimate there's about 2000 spin off jobs that would be created as a result of this also," said Tiffany. 

But leaders of the Bad River Band Tribe who live near the site say moving forward with this project would ruin the environment.

"When you're looking at 650 million plus cubic yards of waste rock that is a lot of acid producing waste rock that's going to be crushed, pulverized, and dumped and allowed to be dumped in wet areas, river ways, streams and lakes," said Wiggins Jr. 

But the conversation isn't over yet, as legislators will pick up this issue in Madison next week. 

State Senator Tom Tiffany says he will introduce the bill to the legislature. 
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