Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, are calling on Gov. Scott Walker to move quickly to appoint members to a committee responsible for dispersing money to several northern Wisconsin communities near a proposed iron ore mine.
Jauch and Bewley say towns near the mine site are eligible to receive money from a mining impact fund. But Jauch says the board that distributes the fund has been inactive for more than decade and can't operate until Walker appoints new members.
“Local units of government have some incredible challenges, and have already expended considerable sums of money with attorneys helping them with ordinances in preparation for other kinds of basic challenges that they have to make to assure that when they negotiate with the mining the mining company they get the best deal for the taxpayers,” said Jauch.
The impact fund was created in the late 1970s to help communities near the proposed – but never built – Crandon copper mine in Forest County. It now holds $280,000.
Walker said this week that it's early in the permitting process for the mine, so there's no reason to hurry in appointing a new board to distribute the money.
“There's no real significant actions other than the testing on it,” said Walker. “We've had some initial meetings and some background checks, but there's no rush in that regard. We'll be doing it on a fairly timely basis, but it won't be in the next day or two.“
The board will eventually include three members of the public members, two county officials, two municipal officials, a school board member and an American Indian.