The iron ore company-written mining bill looks a lot like coal-industry bills written in West Virginia, says one Wisconsin resource expert's op-ed:
The West Virginia model is clear: 1) Mining laws are written by the mining industry. 2) The primary function of government, in relation to mining, is to ensure the profitability of mining as a means to create jobs. 3) Overzealous environmental professionals in state agencies are re-educated by their politically appointed bosses. 4) The process to obtain a state permit avoids open hearings in front of an impartial hearing examiner and thus avoids testimony from objective scientists. 5) Legal challenges are directed to a court likely to be sympathetic to the mining company.
The letter of the mining bill is long and seems complex, but the spirit of the mining bill is simple and crystal clear. Thus, the public policy question is concise: Do the residents of the Penokees and the citizens of Wisconsin want West Virginia-style mining?