Business Group Speaks Up For Taconite Mine


The state’s largest business group made its pitch in Milwaukee today for the proposed taconite mine in Northern Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee Rotary Club has been hearing speakers talk about the pro-mining bill currently at the state capitol, as well as the iron ore mine proposed for Ashland and Iron Counties. Last week, Bad River tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins told the Rotarians why he opposes the legislation and the mine. Today, Scott Manley, of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), told the group that the mine would bring needed jobs to the north, and that the state DNR would protect the nearby environment. “Our environmental regulator, the Wisconsin DNR, has said this legislation gives them all of the tools they need to make sure iron mining would be done safely.”

Manley worked for DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp when she was a State Senator. Attorney Kimberlee Wright of Midwest Environmental Advocates, which is helping represent the Bad River tribe, says the DNR may not be able to know all the facts about the taconite mine. She says it may cost $20 million to do an adequate environmental impact study, but the mining bill caps at two million the amount the taconite company would have to pay. “What’s going to happen with the gap? Where will we get the information? Will it be on the backs of taxpayers or will we have a lot of shortcuts?”

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Wright also says WMC is also wrong to suggest that the mining bill wouldn’t weaken environmental standards. The mining debate moves back inside the state capitol soon.