RHINELANDER - After more than a year, a failed bill, and nine hours of debate yesterday, the Senate passed the mining bill. It will streamline the application process for a mine in Northern Wisconsin.
Senator Tom Tiffany co-authored the bill. He says it will create jobs once the mine is active, and even sooner, during the testing and sampling period.
"That miner that's on our flag; he's basically been out of work for almost forty years, other than that brief four year period with the Flambeau mine in Ladysmith. We want to put him back to work. Along with that, a lot of Wisconsinites will go back to work," says Sen. Tiffany.
Democratic opponents are concerned the bill will relax environmental protections and lead to pollution.
"There are so few guarantees for local units of government. There are so few guarantees of protecting water quality that any prudent mind would say this bill is not adequate for the people of Wisconsin," says Rep. Janet Bewley.
Sen. Tiffany expects the bill to easily pass in the Assembly next week. After that, Governor Scott Walker has to sign it into law.
Tiffany says the timeline for the bill to result in job creation will be fairly short.
"I believe it will take about three years for the process to play out. There will be jobs created because there will be a rigorous environmental review that will be done by the company. Then if they're able to get their permit after three, three and a half years, then the construction phase would start with 2,000 jobs," says Sen. Tiffany.
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