Dozens Travel South to Speak on MiningSubmitted: 01/23/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

MADISON - Dozens of Northwoods people made the long trip to Madison Wednesday to speak before lawmakers on the newest mining bill.

It was the first day of testimony in the Capitol on a bill that Republicans proposed last week.

The Senate and Assembly committees in charge of mining heard stories at the same time.

The bill would streamline the permitting process for mining companies.

Many came on buses to speak for and against the mining bill.

"We are not going to stand by and let this happen without a fight. We don't fight with our hands nowadays, or bows and arrows. We fight with words in court. You will be faced with litigation until day's end. I can guarantee you that," testified Brooks BigJohn of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.

"If we get ten more jobs, it's better than what we have now. I've had to sit across the table over the last nine years and tell about 25 people they don't have jobs anymore. So, I think a chance at it is better than no chance," countered Chris Patritto, the Hurley Schools Superintendent.

Gogebic Taconite also testified at the hearing.

A year ago, they pulled plans to mine iron ore in Ashland and Iron Counties after the last mining bill failed.

Wednesday, they said they would reinstate those plans if the new bill passed.

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