Senate mining committee to move fast on new bill  08/01/2012

Jauch and Cullen are moving along with their committee assignment. The new Democratic Party leader, Senator Mark Miller is sending them out preserve the Democratic Party's chances to keep control of the Senate in the upcoming fall elections. This may be an impossible task and the Dems are convinced if they can sell GTac's mine to the public they will maintain their dubious hold on the senate. Jauch has been a long-term supporter of "responsible mining" which may develop loopholes, waivers, or variances for strip mining in the Penokees. It is an open pit strip mine tha  GTac wants in the Penokees is to become a reality. Senator Timmy Cullen, a recent convert back to the Democratic fold (after a couple days of a hissy fit) also is grabbing at this opportunity. WE need to keep in mind their eyes  are on the political prize of keeping Democrats in power at all costs. WE have our eyes on the prize, the Penokees and the water in the Bad River Watershed, which would easily be sacrificed for electoral success.  WMC states they will only accept the bill that GTac wants. Jauch and Cullen will travel to Minnesota for advice in their haste to prepare another bill for GTac before the end of year

Senator Tim Cullen’s' remarks in their press release (see below) strike this reader as condescending and disingenuous to the North. This stuff may work well with doen state voters, but up it comes off as political press speak.  Tim's comments on of his best days in office were looking at the Penokees and the people are as foolish as his goal to get a mine and himself in the Governor's office. One can not help notice Cullen's silence on the impacts his dream will have on the Bad River Watershed and the homeland of the Bad River Ojibwe. Seems the are unaware the water flowing through Mellen and the Penokees will end up in the Bad River Reservation and the impact this will have on the largest wild rice beds found in the Great Lakes . Why is Cullen so moved by one community and oblivious to the impact o another community? WE expect the Jauch and Cullen and show will include  Tim Sullivan, WMC, GTac, Behre-Dolbear, the Wisconsin Mining Association, and everyone else who will work to justify mining and redefine the word "responsible". 

Committee to move fast on new bill

A senate committee on mining has been resurrected by the majority Democrats, four months after Republicans dismissed that same committee.

By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram

A senate committee on mining has been resurrected by the majority Democrats, four months after Republicans dismissed that same committee. Democrats intend to have a new iron ore mining bill proposed by the end of this year.

Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville will chair the Senate Select Committee on Mining. He says they’re already planning how to proceed.

“One of the best days in my legislative career was the day I spent up looking at the Penokee Hills, talking to the people in Mellen last February. It made a deep impression on me. The message from the people of Mellen was, they wanted mining but they did not want their environment destroyed. If they can get it done and have a bill that protects the environment and does create the jobs, that’s our goal.”

Cullen expects their first meeting to be in two to three weeks. He also says they’ll hold public listening sessions involving all the players from the tribes to Gogebic Taconite, which proposed to spend $1.5 billion to build an iron ore mine in the Penokees.

But Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Environmental Policy Director Scott Manley says unless they go with the Republican-backed Assembly bill, this new committee is wasting its time.

“Any effort to water that bill down could scuttle that entire project. So from our perspective, it’s premature at this time to be talking about any legislation other than Assembly Bill 426.

Committee Vice-Chairman Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, represents the Penokee region. He says WMC won’t stop a new mining bill, and that they’ll hold public meetings in shaping a streamlined mining bill.

“Contrasting with the Republicans and WMC approach to secretly pushing a bill through that serves only the mining company and not the public interest. We will have an open and deliberative discussion and I’m convinced a constructive result.”

Jauch and Cullen say they’ll explore iron ore mining legislation already in place in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, WMC’s Manley says their priority is on getting a Republican-controlled majority elected in the Senate this November.