Wisconsin gets another chance for Gogebic Taconite iron mine
With Republicans gaining a healthier majority in the State Senate, passage of the Assembly's mining bill for streamlining of the mining approval process is likely. And with a passed mining bill, Gogebic Taconite says they are still interested in Wisconsin.
Because State Senate Republicans are no longer dependent on their weakest link, Sen. Dale Schultz, they should be able to pass the streamlined mining approval bill. Ironically, now that passage seems inevitable, Democrat Senator Tim Cullen now invokes Thomas Jefferson's appeal for "broad support for sweeping change"! In Sunday's paper, Cullen made his plea for not ramming through legislation with a slim majority.
Cullen's plea, however, seems very out of character with Democrats' actions, both in state and in Washington. After all, didn't Cullen join with the other Democrat State Senators when the 14 fled the state to deny the Senate Republicans from having a quorum during the Act 10 battle? And though he flirted with leaving the Democrat caucus in July, 3 days later he rejoined them with a promise of chairing 2 newly created committees--one being Mining.
As for Democrats in the U.S. Senate, didn't Harry Reid tweak and torture Senate rules to pass Obamacare on the slimmest of majorities? Hardly following Thomas Jefferson's appeal for broad support for sweeping change! Cullen stood with both Obama and Tammy Baldwin in the last election, so I guess that shows how much Cullen really values Thomas Jefferson's words of wisdom.
Since the introduction of iron mining would be a great boon for all of Wisconsin, I would like to think Democrats could put partisanship aside and do what is best for the state. Keep in mind the mining bill includes environmental protections, and iron mining is akin to quarrying, which goes on all over our state, it is not toxic strip mining. And the 700 jobs? Those are promised to be 95% union jobs, certainly a boon to economically challenged northern Wisconsin.
However, putting partisanship aside doesn't seem to be the direction state Democrats wish to move in: they just named Democrat Chris Larson as their Minority Leader. (Larson is a true liberal, believing that reducing government is reducing democracy!)
No doubt a passed mining bill will end up tangled in the Madison courts, just as our passed Voter ID and Act 10 have. But at least we should be able to jump the first hurdle of passing the mining legislation. The court battle will have to be overcome another day*.
*Note: Wisconsin has an extremely important State Supreme Court race coming up in April 2013, where we must reelect Justice Pat Roggensack.
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