August 30, 2012
Cullen Announces Hearing Dates for Mining Committee
Preliminary Informational Hearings Will Focus on Educating
Legislature, Public on Mining Debate
(MADISON) – Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Mining, announced plans for three informational hearings with invited speakers in late September. The hearings will serve to create a greater context for the issues involved in reforming Wisconsin’s mining laws and detail the roles other government entities play in the mining permitting process.
“The committee will not work from any bill from the past session, but will rather focus on Wisconsin’s current law and what changes are warranted, as well as the justification for those potential changes,” Cullen said. “The committee will listen to several invited speakers. My hope is that following these hearings, both the Legislature and the people of Wisconsin will better understand state and federal mining regulations and the critical role that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, federal regulatory agencies, and Native American tribes play in the final determination of whether a permit is granted.”
Cullen said he wants to foster a discussion that allows for input from very different perspectives on the issue of mining regulatory reform. The committee has been in contact with tribal leaders to ensure that Wisconsin’s tribes have a seat at the table. Cullen is hopeful that the tribes will testify at a hearing, but no date has been confirmed. All hearings will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 411 South in the Capitol.
Informational Hearing 1
Tuesday, September 18
Dr. Tom Evans, Wisconsin Geological Survey
Rebecca Graser, Army Corps of Engineers
Ann Coakley, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Informational Hearing 2
Thursday, September 20
George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
Dave Boetcher, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
James Buchen & Scott Manley, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
Informational Hearing 3
Tuesday, September 25
Stephen Donohue, Wisconsin Mining Association
Jennifer Giegerich, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
Amber Meyer Smith, Clean Wisconsin, Inc.
“The committee will hear from a wide range of speakers,” Cullen said. “We understand that there are strong feelings both for and against mining in Wisconsin. Since we already know that, we intend to begin with ‘education’ sessions, then work toward a bill or an outline of a bill, and then get public reaction to it.”
Following the hearings, the committee’s intention is to create an outline of recommendations for mining legislation or a mining bill itself and take that document to one or more public hearings outside of Madison. Cullen said the committee may also travel to Minnesota in October to better understand its mining laws and possibly meet with one or more mining companies currently operating in the state.
Cullen acknowledged that the Senate Minority Leader has yet to appoint Republican members to the committee, but said that if no Republican members have been appointed by the time of the hearings, he would extend an invitation to any interested Republican senator to sit with the committee.
The Senate Select Committee on Mining currently consists of Sen. Tim Cullen (Chair), Sen. Bob Jauch (Vice Chair), Sen. Jon Erpenbach, Sen. Jim Holperin, and Sen. John Lehman. The Senate Minority Leader has not appointed any Republican members to the committee.