Mursau, Legislature Approve Iron Mining Regulatory Reform

Madison … Representative Jeff Mursau (R–Crivitz) and the Wisconsin State Assembly voted to approve reforms to state statutes regulating iron mining in Wisconsin on Thursday. The legislation separates iron mining regulations from those applied to sulfide mining for copper, gold and zinc mines. Sulfide mining regulations and the mining moratorium on sulfide mining remain in place, unchanged.

“Mining operations and the jobs they create depend on responsive state and federal regulators,” Mursau said. “SB 1 ensures DNR responsiveness and retains the environmental protection Wisconsin citizens have come to expect.”

Senate Bill (SB1) retains the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) authority to deny a mining permit when a mining application fails to convince DNR it can be done safely. The Wisconsin constitution’s public-trust-doctrine remains in place. Further, Wisconsin citizens retain access to contested case hearings and the courts to ensure DNR, ACOE, and EPA hold mining operations to high environmental standards before, during and after mining.

“These reforms are a good first step,” Mursau said. “Now it’s up to the private sector to convince state and federal regulators they have a business plan that protects our environment and create new jobs.”

The bill passed the State Senate 17 – 16 and the State Assembly 58 – 39. The bill now heads to Governor Scott Walker for his expected signature.