Joint Finance Committee passes revised bill; Sen. Schultz and Jauch affirm opposition
MADISON — The future of the controversial open-pit mining bill became more uncertain today after the Joint Finance Committee passed a revised version of the bill that Sen. Dale Schultz (R – Richland Center) and Sen. Bob Jauch (D – Superior) vowed to oppose.
“The so-called ‘compromise’ passed by the Joint Finance Committee today would still roll back commonsense environmental protections and limit the voice of the people in the mine permit process, changes to current law that Wisconsin residents adamantly oppose,” said Amber Meyer Smith, government relations director at Clean Wisconsin. “Sen. Dale Schultz is standing with the people of Wisconsin by opposing this bill.”
The Joint Finance Committee adopted an amendment proposed by co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling and Sen. Robin Vos, before passing the open-pit mining bill on party lines. While Senators Darling and Vos called their amendment a compromise, Sen. Schultz, who holds a key vote in the Senate, disagreed and vowed to oppose the bill.
“I would say the compromise they just offered is no compromise at all,” Sen. Schultz told reporters at a press conference preceding the Joint Finance Committee meeting.
At legislative hearings held in West Allis, Hurley, Ashland and Platteville, opponents of the Mining Bill significantly outnumbered supporters. Even many supporters of a mine testified against the open-pit mining bill at these hearings.
“The people of Wisconsin oppose weakening environmental standards for mining, period,” said Smith. “We applaud Senators Schultz and Jauch for listening to the voice of the people and standing up to out-of-state mining interests trying to use bully tactics to rewrite our laws.”