Members of the state Senate Mining Committee are taking issue with Governor Walker's predictions about how soon iron ore mining could begin in Ashland and Iron County.
State Senator Bob Jauch says Governor Walker is delusional if he believes what he told business leaders this week about cottontail changes in the state's mining laws.
"The Governor is doing an extreme disservice to the people of Wisconsin by suggesting that somehow there is going to be construction activity and many jobs in the year 2103 if we pass this legislation," he says.
Jauch says even if a bill passes, it would take the company at least another two years to get a permit to begin construction.Wisconsin mining association president Tim Sullivan told the committee the industry's bottom line is having some certainty a permit will eventually be granted.
"You have to reach a balance between someone whose investing millions that becomes billions and return on that investment and a process that they see as having an ability to move through in a fairly expeditious manner," he says.
But Wisconsin Wildlife Federation president George Meyer says unless new mining legislation offers native American tribes a seat at the negotiating table any mining permit application will lead to long and costly federal lawsuits.
"The treaty rights in the ceded territory and the spearfishing rights were very important to the tribe but they view, the Bad River Tribe views this as a life or death matter and that is not hyperbole."
A proposed mine in Iron and Ashland county would be built on the head waters of the Bad River that flows though the tribe's reservation.