Wisconsinites will get one more chance to comment on mining.
The Natural Resources Board must change its administrative rules to reflect what the governor and Legislature approved this spring. The Board is expected to set a date for a public hearing on the new rules when it meets in Baraboo on August 14th. Majority Republicans passed a series of changes designed to make it easier for Gogebic Taconite to open a new iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. Among other things, the new law sets time limits for the state’s approval of mining permits. It also relaxes previous environmental protections, and ends the public’s ability to object the state’s mining decisions before permits are issued. Supporters say the new mine will provide hundreds of jobs to an area that badly needs them. Opponents say it would cause heavy water pollution. Protestors disrupted the company’s exploratory drilling last month, one of them has been charged criminally.