Remember when Scott Walker told the Republican Legislature to hurry up and get him that mining bill?
Walker tells Senate to get going on mining
Well, legislators are doing just that, and Mom was right - - haste makes waste - - as the first bill out of the chute, after months of behind-closed-doors drafting, has more holes than the Chicago Bears secondary.Gov. Scott Walker prodded the Republican-controlled state Senate to take up mining legislation on Thursday in his weekly radio address, saying that Wisconsin “should not have to wait for many months for action.”
Hat tip to Ron Seely for these grafs in a State Journal story about the troubled Assembly mining bill - - and also a nod to the headline writer for focusing the reader's attention on the contradictory bill-writing mess. Could it be that you shouldn't let special interests control the process? I am italicizing a few bon mots:
Official: Streamlining mining permit process may actually hamper timeline
WEST ALLIS — An official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told legislators Wednesday that an Assembly GOP bill to streamline the permitting process for iron mines may lengthen the amount of time it takes for a company to get permission to mine in Wisconsin.It's also looking like the bill conflicts with the Great Lakes Compact and its standards and procedures governing large-scale water withdrawals.
The bill would give the state Department of Natural Resources 360 days to act on an iron mine permit as well as eliminate public hearings and legal challenges, reduce wetland and other water protections, and slash by half the amount of money iron mining companies would be required to pay local communities to help offset their costs...
But Rebecca Grasser, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the 360-day period the bill gives the DNR to act on a permit could preclude the federal agency from working jointly with the DNR. That, she said, could actually lengthen the time a mining company would have to wait for action on a permit request.
At Wednesday's public hearing held at State Fair Park, Ann Coakley, who works on mine permitting for the DNR, said the agency received the 183-page bill on Thursday and has not had enough time to fully review it. But the shortened time frame could cause conflicts with federal agencies that must also act on the permit application, she said.
The Compact is the an eight-state, two-nation agreement approved also by the Congress and signed by the US President - - one George W. Bush and not some Manchurian Kenyan, fyi.
Even the DNR sees it:
New mining legislation may conflict with the Great Lakes Compact, according to an official with the Department of Natural Resources.And Federal officials warned Walker and his administration months ago that fast-tracking mining approvals could jeopardize permitting in the state and put Wisconsin out of compliance with existing law and standards in the Clean Water Act.
A water resources administrator with the agency said that language on the use of high capacity wells in a mining bill unveiled last week might run up against restrictions on water use in the compact.
“There is a potential conflict,” said Russ Rasmussen, deputy water division administrator said on Wednesday before a hearing on the legislation.
And the non-partisan, broadly-based Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, which appeared effectively at the hearing against the bill, has been on record - - the bold-facing is the organization's - - since its June 11 meeting opposing legislative efforts to weaken environmental protections or remove public participation in mining reviews:
In order to protect the interests of hunters, anglers and trappers, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation at its June 11, 2011 meeting voted to oppose any changes in the Wisconsin’s current mining law that would reduce protection for the environment or reduce public input into the issuance of mining permits.So why the self-inflicted wound?
[Sunday afternoon update: You can still email your comments to the committee chair. Here is the address and some bill