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WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SIGNS HISTORIC MINING REFORM BILL

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed Senate Bill 1,
which is designed to streamline the state’s iron mine
permitting process.  After signing the bill, the Governor
said, “Wisconsin’s seal and the state flag both depict mining
in our great state. In light of our mining tradition, I’m
thrilled to sign legislation into law protecting environmental
safeguards, while providing certainty to the mine permitting
process. I would like to thank legislative leaders in both the
State Senate and State Assembly for their tireless
commitment to move this bill forward. After making
substantial changes to the legislation, aimed at protecting
our state’s vital natural resources, the bill I signed into law
today will preserve our tradition of clean land, water and air.
I am hopeful today’s actions will result in the creation of
thousands of private sector jobs in the coming years.”

MINING BILL COULD PROVIDE MAJOR JOB BENEFITS FOR THE STATE

In a recent report, UW Professor David Ward concluded iron
mining can play a major role in the state’s future. He noted
that Ashland and Iron counties contain about 2 billion tons
of iron ore deposits, which is enough to support 100 years
of mining.Gogebic Taconite has proposed spending $1.5
billion to develop an iron mine in the aptly-named Iron
County. Ward says this project would create an estimated
2,200 construction jobs, 700 initial jobs at the mining site
and 1,400 jobs on-site when the mine reaches full capacity.
These jobs would pay an average of  $82,000, which is
more than double the county’s household income of about
$34,000. This mine would therefore be an enormous shot
in the arm for a region that’s been struggling economically
for years. The mining investment is also projected to
generate another 2,100 Wisconsin jobs (4,200 when it
reaches capacity) in industries such as construction
materials, machinery supplies and transportation.
Wisconsin’s utilities support legislation which could allow
a resurgence of growth in the state while protecting the
environment.