Larson: Work Must Continue On Mining Bill

Oak Creek's state senator pushes for compromise day after Senate rejects legislation.

A day after and Gogebic Taconite announced it is abandoning plans for a $1.5 billion mine, state Sen. Chris Larson still held out hope that a bipartisan mining proposal could proceed.

Larson released a statement Wednesday in which he criticized Republicans and said legislators must continue to work toward a compromise, even if a bill can't be adopted by the time the Legislative session ends March 15.

"Despite the actions of Republicans, a compromise can and must be reached," he said. "We still have the opportunity to move Wisconsin forward by passing legislation that will make our state an attractive investment for all mining companies. It's time to end the mine games. The majority in the Senate and I stand ready to pass a responsible, long-term compromise.

"A bipartisan bill is still available that will give prospective companies the necessary tools to create much-needed jobs across the state. I have signed on in support of this proposal that respects our workers, prospective businesses, and culture of conservation."

Click here to read the whole statement.

Before Tuesday's Senate vote, Republican state Rep. Mark Honadel and called on Democratic senators from southeastern Wisconsin to put politics aside and step up on a solution. He said thousands of jobs in mining equipment in this area are at stake, in addition to the jobs that would be created by the Gogebic Taconite mine.

Honadel was an advocate of a bill, which aimed to streamline the mining permit process, that passed the Assembly in January. But it ran into opposition in the Senate, and the latest version was rejected by senators 17-16 Tuesday. Republican Dale Schultz voted with all 16 Democrats in opposition to the bill.

Schultz and state Sen. Bob Jauch have floated an alternative proposal, which Larson referred to in his statement, but it has failed to gain any traction in the Legislature.

The Senate sent the bill it voted down Tuesday to a legislative committee for more work.

Mike in OC March 08, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Larson needs to be the one who compromises.... this piece of legislation is too important to his district. Jeff Plale would have supported it....
Mark B March 08, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Ironically, I think what happened to Jeff Plale after his vote against Doyle's "green jobs bill" had ripple effects and influenced the Democrats to vote against the mining bill. If you remember, it was Plale's vote that sunk that bill. As a result, the powers that be in the Democrat party, at the direction of their union masters, backed Chris Larson as the democrat challenger in the primary and knocked Plale out.
Mark B March 08, 2012 at 03:14 AM
This bill was really about the permit process more than anything. The mining company was basically asking that the State of Wisconsin come up with a permit process that had a somewhat fixed end date that would either approve or deny the mining permit. Right now and under the Schultz proposal, especially under the contested case scenario, the permit process had no end date in which a decision would be made, either up or down. Under the contested case, anyone at anytime could object to the mine and drag any approval on forever. Would you ever apply for a fishing license if the process for approval would not issue you a license for a few years if ever? (I know a poor comparison, but it was the best I could come up with) The DNR, Army Corp of Engineers, EPA and any other agency that could regulate the mine was still involved in the permit process and would have still been involved in making sure the mine met their regulations after the mine started operating. I'm not saying mining has no impact on the environment, but I do think it can be effectively regulated and personally feel that the proposed permit process took care of that very well. The proposed mine was 4 miles long and about 1/2 mile wide. In Milwaukee that is about the distance from Miller Park to the zoo interchange.
Mark B March 08, 2012 at 03:18 AM
From an environmental perspective I think that those opposed to the mine would only be happy if the mine was never developed. If they got their way during the permit process, regardless of the merit, the opposed would have been the leaders in the contested case and delayed forever the permit. Everything we do has some impact on the environment. Taking fish out of any lake, hunting deer, farming, driving a car, putting salt on icy roads, putting up wind generators for power, manufacturing batteries for electric cars, all have some impact on the environment, however in my opinion there is always a trade off. If it can be done with respect for the environment, still with good for humans it needs to be considered. If we are really all for the environment, we should all demolish our houses, stop using electricity, milking cows, eating cheese and sausage, move out of Wisconsin and let nature take over, regardless of humans. However as humans I think we can be respectful of the environment yet still utilize the abundant natural resources God provided us. I think this mine issue was a no go from the environmentalists, for any reason and a no go for the Democrats because it was something Gov. Walker supported. Between the two there was never a chance to develop the mine.
The real OC March 08, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Larson is only driven by his hatred for our governor, and is blind to the interests of our district. We need to hold Chris responsible.
Patricia K Hammel March 08, 2012 at 04:17 AM
From the mining company's perspective, they weren't willing to abide by the wetlands regulations, DNR timelines, public information and input processes, fee limits, local community impact funds, and other costs that other mining operations have to comply with. After they lied to the local communities, they wanted the law rewritten or they wouldn't even submit a permit. Sens. Jauch, Schulz and Cullen offered a compromise to streamline the permitting process without exempting them from environmental regs. and it wasn't good enough for them so they took their claimed 700 jobs (now I see Walker has it up to 2,300; not quite 250,000 yet, but wait..), which probably would never have materialized, and if so not for 3-4 years (the time it takes a taconite mine to be permitted in Minnesota) and stalked off. I suspect they'll be back if they think the ore is worth their trouble. It'll still be there.
Mike in OC March 08, 2012 at 01:21 PM
@Patricia..... nice to see a Dane County attorney sticking up for Chris Larson....lol. I personally would have rather heard from his constituents. Are you too naive to see how many jobs this would have created? It's not just the jobs at the mine or through the construction of the mine. It's also the jobs created by the companies that support the mine..... like Cat who makes mining equipment. Or the diner located near the mine who hires an extra cook and waitress because of increased business. Or the builders that have to hire carpenters or electricians who need to build new houses to support the new jobs in Ashland. But you dont care about them.... you and Chris Larson for that matter only care about slamming Scott Walker because he is trying to do the right things to improve this state. It's people like you and Chris Larson who are ruining this state. How much money do you make a year working as an Environmental Lobbyist?
Mark B March 08, 2012 at 04:37 PM
http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/225048/ Minnesota is laughing at us.
oak creek resident March 08, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Good job Larson, ex thief Larson that is. The company got sick of your BS and now left for greener pastures elsewhere. Goodbye 1000 blue collar union jobs. Glad these union pukes who want to recall walker lost out on good paying jobs. Glad that their out of state masters, the union mob bosses, worked with democrats to kill this opportunity.
Randy S.M. March 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Larson is a small-minded petty thief that should not be representing hard-working taxpayers. There's no way he would ever have gotten elected if it wasn't for his union masters and their minions. If anyone should get recalled it's him and the other 13 fleabaggers.
TPaine March 08, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Larson is a coward. A sheep. He treats us like we are idiots and can't see who and what he really is. Can't wait to vote him and all the other fake representatives out.
Mike in OC March 08, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I just saw this on cbs 58 ..... union leader lashing out at the 17 senators who voted NO on this bill. Alot of people are upset over their actions.... it seems like Larson and his crew don't care about the State, only their agenda. http://www.cbs58.com/news/local-news/Union-leader-criticizes-mining-bill-vote-141854873.html
The real OC March 08, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Does anybody know who bankrolled Larson's run against Jeff Plale in 2010? Whoever paid for all Larson's TV ads seem to have more influence over our senator than we do.
Jay Harvanek March 08, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I didn't think that I could get anymore disgusted with him and the rest of the Democrats in the state senate. I was wrong.
oak creek resident March 08, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Like I said - FCK those union dimwit morons who vote democrat. I can't wait for their unemployment to run out - FCK them for voting against the very people who are trying to get jobs to wisconsin!
Dory & Bill March 09, 2012 at 12:16 AM
It's hard to believe that this man was elected to represent the people of our area. Doesn't he realize that Caterpillar is a "major employer" in the area and that it just happens to make mining equipment ?? No ... his main objective is just to make sure Gov Walker can't claim credit for the jobs that would be created !!
Pam Aiken March 09, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Is all the name-calling really necessary?
Mike in OC March 09, 2012 at 01:05 AM
It shows the anger people have for Larson... he really has done nothing besides talk trash himself... check out his FB page. Larson would vote NO on anything Scott Walker supports.... regardless if he thinks it's a good idea. This goes back to his days as a County Board member. I'm still amazed he got elected, he does not have the maturity to be an elected official in my oppinion.
Mark B March 09, 2012 at 01:45 AM
oak creek resident March 09, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Whatever Patricia. Lets look at the facts - both Michigan and Minnestoa, heavy touristy areas themselves, have mining operations. Wisconsin does not. What is the difference? Duh - the most strict and asinine regulations and penalties.
The real OC March 09, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Senator Larson...the goal isn't for you to create a lousy mining bill...the goal is 2300 mining jobs! Get it done!
Chenzo March 12, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Larson is just like his counterpart in the north side of Milwaukee. The one who called for a boycott of Andys gas station, because of his donation to Walker. Or the boycott of buying paper products from a company that employs hundreds of Union workers. Right here in Wisconsin. We truly are in trouble with these morons in office.
Chenzo March 12, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Maybe Larson should run back to Illinois........ Permanently!!


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