Here are a few basics:
Here is a concise summary of what the bill will do, courtesy of the BadgerDemocracy blog:
1. The new law would supersede any rule-making authority the DNR now has regarding mining permitting and regulation.
2. The new law would rescind the requirement for a public informational hearing prior to the release of the Environmental Impact Statement, regarding the content of the EIS.
3. The new law rescinds the requirement for a “contested-case hearing.” This hearing is conducted under Administrative rule, with testimony under oath, and allows for cross-examination of testimony.
4. DNR will have a 360 day deadline to act on a permit request. If this window expires, the permit is automatically granted. DNR would no longer have consideration of the “quality of information” submitted in a report, and may not reject a permit based on that question. DNR may request clarification, but this does not delay the process within the 360 day window. A national study shows the average time for a mining permit review to be 2-4 years (source – US Army Corps of Engineers).
5. The new law does not allow for a person aggrieved by a DNR decision regarding permitting to a “contested-case hearing” under administrative rule. The only remedy is in the courts. additionally, the new law states that no citizen may file suit against a permitted mining operation.
6. The new law would loosen the regulations for surface water withdrawal. The DNR would be unable to interfere with the drawing of surface water if doing so would “limit or interfere with the needs of a mining operation.”
7. The new law would allow a mining company to request exemption for any law under the permitting process. DNR would have 15 days to respond.
8. The new treatment of the Occupancy Tax would take 50% of the net tax to go into the state general revenue fund. Under current law, 100% stays in the community, and is administered by a local board.
9. Conditions regulating contracts, leases, and record keeping transparency are rescinded.
10. Weakens (virtually eliminated) DNR rule making authority in regard to ferrous mining. The new law also only applies to ferrous mining permitting.
Thursday, December 15, 2011