Walker Activates Mining Impact Committee

Mining Impact Fund Board Will Decide How Communities May Be Reimbursed For Mining Expenses

Above, the Penokee Hills, the site of a proposed iron ore mine. Photo: J. Chapiewsky (CC-BY-SA).

Gov. Scott Walker has activated a long-dormant mining impact committee that will decide what communities will be reimbursed for expenses caused by mining efforts.

Seven people were named to the Mining Impact Fund Board, officially called by the more generic name of “Investment and Local Impact Fund Board,” not using the word “mining.”

State legislators from the Ashland County and Iron County area of the proposed Penokee Hills iron ore mine asked that Walker re-activate this board. They say cash-strapped local governments need to be reimbursed for damaged roads, legal fees and other costs.

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State Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, is glad the board has been appointed, but she’s concerned that no one on the committee is from Ashland County.

“But at least there are people now on the board and we can let the communities themselves determine if they’re satisfied with the appointment,” said Bewley.

The Local Impact Fund Board was used during the Crandon Mine project in Forest County in the 1990s. Bewley says about a quarter of a million dollars is still in that fund, so communities might be able to start making claims.