George Meyer, a former DNR Secretary, explains the advantages of the mining compromise already dissed by mining industry captive and US Senate candidate Jeff Fitzgerald, (R-Horicon), the Assembly's Republican leader:
Contact: George Meyer, Executive Director, (608) 516-5545
The bill sets forth a period of eighteen months for DNR to make final decisions on permit. Permit processing timelines by the States of Michigan and Minnesota and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers run between a minimum of two years to four years. The Schultz-Jauch bill provides the opportunity for the mining applicant and the DNR to reach agreement to extend the permit processing time to take into account unpredicted events affecting permit processing.
This allows citizens, the mining applicant and the DNR to formally review all the mining information presented in support or opposition to the mine and to ask questions of expert witnesses under oath on how they reached their professional judgments on the mine.
To address the concerns of the mining company that a contested case could delay mining decision making, the time frame for making the contested case decision is placed within the eighteen month permit deadline, thereby providing permit timeline certainty to the applicant.
Gogebic Taconite has stated publicly that it does not need to have environmental standards lowered. The Assembly mining bill, AB 426, exempts iron mining companies such as Gogebic Taconite from many Wisconsin environmental standards.