When the Joint Finance Committee takes up the 189-page mining measure ordered there by Senate King Scott Fitzgerald - - read it fast, since the iron ore mining company to which it is aimed helped write it months ago, suckers - - the bill carries forward the Assembly's dismissal of the public's watchdog role in the existing permitting procedure by changing a formal, legal hearing - - with testimony offered under oath - - to an informational hearing with the legal status of a potluck dinner or a radio talk show presentation
In other words, the mining company applicant can make any claim it wants, without penalty.
From the Legislative Reference Bureau's fresh analysis:
Current law requires DNR to hold a hearing on an application for a metallic mining permit. The hearing includes both a contested case hearing, with testimony under oath and the opportunity for cross−examination, and a public informational hearing. The law requires that the hearing cover the EIS and cover all other approvals issued by DNR that are required for the mining project, to the extent possible. Under current law, the provisions related to notice, hearing, and comment in the metallic mining law apply to any other needed approval, unless the applicant fails to make an application for an approval in time for it to be considered at the hearing on the mining permit.
This bill requires DNR to hold a public informational hearing for a proposed iron mining project. The hearing does not include a contested case hearing. The hearing must cover the mining permit, the EIS, and all other approvals issued by DNR that are required for the mining project, unless the application for an approval is filed too late to allow the approval to be considered at the mining hearing. Under the bill, the provisions related to notice, hearing, and comment in the iron mining law apply to any other needed approval.