Associations Urge Wisconsin Legislators To Pass Mining Bill
WISCONSINREPORT.COM (03/06/2012) - The Wisconsin Restaurant Association, Wisconsin Utilities Association, and Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, are among those encouraging the Wisconsin legislature to pass mining legislation. Proponents say the permitting proposed would open up mining jobs that would help the economy, while those opposed, say it would hurt the environment and could change the value of Wisconsin as a tourist destination.
The Wisconsin Senate is expected to take up the mining legislation this afternoon (Tuesday, March 6, 2012). But it may come up for a vote only if majority Republicans have the 17 votes needed for passage.
Several letters of encouragement, dated March 6, 2012, have been sent to the Wisconsin legislature concerning passage of Assembly Bill 426/Senate Bill 488.
The Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA) urges the State Senate to support AB-426/SB-488, and "allow a sensible permitting process for iron mining in Wisconsin".
The letter states that "WRA has received input from members who are strongly supportive of this legislation and the economic development that it might allow".
"Our members in that economically-depressed region of Northern Wisconsin believe that the proposed iron ore mine could revitalize their economy with good paying jobs," Wisconsin Restaurant Association President and CEO Edward J. Lump said in the letter.
Here’s a quote from one restaurant owner in Ashland noted in the letter:
“If you were in my restaurant at lunch time and could hear working folks talking about this mine. There are truck drivers, machinists, dock workers and others talking about what they’re going to do in five years after the mine comes and they get a better paying job", the letter represents as a quote from the unnamed restaurant owner.
The letter goes on to quote the unnamed source:
"They are saying it will allow their kids to go to college, or allow them to buy a home for their family after losing the last one to foreclosure. One guy said he’d be able to afford a hunting cabin to keep him happy in his retirement. Right or wrong, people are making plans for a better future up here. We have to give this a real chance to happen,” the quote concludes.
The letter from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association indicates WRA believes "this issue is important enough that Republicans and Democrats alike should set politics aside and make sure we don’t let an incredible opportunity slip away".
The WRA letter from Wisconsin Restaurant Association President and CEO Edward J. Lump continues:
"Even in Southeastern Wisconsin, small business owners are supportive of the mining permits legislation. They know that manufacturing jobs will be created, or at least supported, at companies like Caterpillar, P&H Mining Equipment, and Monarch Companies. When manufacturers hire workers, keep workers or raise wages, restaurants benefit because they have more potential customers who can afford to go out to eat. In turn, they are able to hire more cooks, servers and managers".
The March 6th, 2012 letter to the Wisconsin Senate from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association President suggests that "it’s not just a mining company with a stake in this".
In a separate letter to the Wisconsin legislature, the Wisconsin Utitilies Association (WUB) is expressing similar sentiments regarding passage of the mining legislation, suggesting it would "streamline Wisconsin's mine permitting regulations while protecting our environment".
WUB asserts that "passage of this legislation will be a crucial step in improving Wisconsin’s economy and creating jobs for our citizens".
Tom Howells of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association is also supporting the mining permit reform legislation, and encourages passage.
"While we understand there have been substantial changes to the original bill that will increase the permit approval timeline and remove the $2 million total cap on fees, the association is supportive of the amended bill", Howells writes in another letter to the Wisconsin legislative body.
Howells says the legislation will go a long way in transforming Northern Wisconsin's economy and add badly needed jobs.
He adds that the mining project(s) that would be created as a result of the mining legislation passage would be helpful to improve the prospects for, not only truckers, but also a number of other industries in Wisconsin.
Today Governor Scott Walker released the following statement regarding the Joint Finance Committee’s action on mining reform:
"I applaud the Legislature for moving forward the debate about mining reform legislation. The Joint Finance Committee's willingness to continue to negotiate a compromise is an important step toward getting a mining bill passed that could create thousands of jobs", Governor Walker said.
"The State Assembly has made substantial compromises in the bill being acted on today by agreeing to include aspects of the mining bill that were introduced last week by Senator Schultz," Walker continued.
"I encourage Legislators continue to work together to find a bill that creates thousands of long-term, family supporting jobs, while still protecting Wisconsin’s valuable natural resources," recall-embattled Wisconsin Governor Walker said.
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