ICRDC opposes Dems Mine Bill 01.29.13

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To: Kelly Klein, ICRDC Director

The 2010 Tax return for the ICRDC includes the name Tim Myers. SWE has the following questions regarding this submitted article. These questions relate to content of this submitted article.

1. Is this the same Tim Myers who was or still is a registered lobbyist for GTac?

2. If this is true, then in what capacity did serve on the ICRDC?

3. Does the ICRDC currently have GTac employees currently serving on the ICRDC?

4. Your statement regarding the "Public Trust Doctrine is so broad” that it protect puddles. Please elaborate or provide examples that have lead you this conclusion.

5. Why is the ICRDC so reluctant to call for at least one hearing in Ashland or Odanah to provide area residents the opportunity to share their thoughts about protecting our water?    

6. The last question: How does the ICRDC justify ignoring the concerns of the Bad River Ojibwe and the threats to their community.

I will thank you in advance for your cooperation and your answers will be included in the next issue of SWE.

Frank Koehn, Ashland, WI  281.341.8822  Email: savethewatersedge@gmail.com

The Iron County Resource Development Association (ICRDA) opposes an alternative mining bill being offered by State Senator Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.

The announcement was made in a news release issued by the organization’s director, Kelly Klein.

“After attending and submitting testimony in favor of an iron ore mining bill, Senate Bill 1 and Assembly Bill 1, last week in Madison, the Iron County Resource Development Association Inc. is opposing another mining proposal offered by Senator Tim Cullen. This legislation was released Tuesday, a day before the public hearing in front of the Senate and Assembly Mining Committees,” the announcement read.

“Our development association watched all four of the hearings held by Senator Cullen’s committee and although some of the information was helpful, there was not any representation invited from Iron County,” Klein said. “Our board of directors as well as many in the community were disturbed by this, especially since the first 20 years of a mine operation would be in Iron County.”

Klein said he felt that the legislation authored by Cullen would not facilitate the return of the mining industry to Wisconsin.

“I don’t think a mining company would want to invest in the state if this became law,” said Klein. “An application for a permit is never deemed complete under this proposal and a company would wait years before they could even submit it.”

Klein said the Cullen bill also has several other shortcomings, including an excessively long time delay for environmental reviews.

“In Minnesota and Michigan most of the environmental review is complete by the time a mining application is filed,” he said. “If the DNR and Army Corps of Engineers truly cooperate with a mining company from the first days of the exploratory phase, then the review of the application should take no longer than 360 days. New power plants, which are very complicated, can be permitted by the Public Service Commission in this time frame. This legislation calls for a timeline of over 900 days.”

Klein also said requiring a mining company to wait for a decision on a contested case hearing provides an opportunity to delay mining start-up.

“A company should be allowed to proceed with construction of a mine as they are assuming the risk,” Klein said. “This legislation would not allow construction to start.”

Klein also said the Cullen legislation does not allow a lessee to engage in navigable water activities, meaning a company would have to purchase large tracts of land increasing their start-up costs.

“This legislation does not incorporate administrative rules, which mean the rules become moving targets, creating delays and uncertainty,” Klein said.

Klein also said when determining if an application is complete, a checklist should be used to determine if the required information has been submitted. The quality of information is then determined when the permit is reviewed.

“This legislation allows quality to be a factor before the information is complete, which can cause further delays,” he said.

Excessive taxation during the first years of mining production is a disincentive to mining, Klein said.

“Because of the huge cost of initial investment, a phase-in period to reach full taxation would encourage mining,” he said. “This legislation does not provide for this.

“The definition of the Public Trust Doctrine has become so broad that we now protect waters that reasonable people would define as spring runoff and puddles. If this interpretation persists, no mine, industrial, agricultural or public project will be permitted. This legislation does not address this.”

Klein also maintained that Senate Bill 1 supports the return of mining while protecting the environment.

“Some of the processes change, but the metrics for water and air quality remain the same,” he said