Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters: Scrap the mining bill, part II — Mine games will cost taxpayers millions

Contact: Tom Stolp, Field Director

Office: (715) 835-4248, Cell: (715) 225-3344

[email protected]

Since its introduction, the case to scrap AB 426, the Assembly mining bill, has been made repeatedly and with great reason. Yet, this bill that seeks to rewrite our laws for the benefit of special interests at the expense of Wisconsin families is still being considered by Wisconsin legislators. Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters has introduced the “Scrap the Mining Bill Series,” a regular report of the countless reasons that have surfaced in recent days and months of why legislators must scrap AB 426.

From the Scrap the Mining Bill Series—

That’s right – millions. AB 426, the Assembly Mining Bill is not only devastating to our environment and health, but our pocketbooks as well. According to a recent fiscal analysis by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), AB 426 will cost the agency millions of taxpayer dollars per year for mine permitting, staff costs and environmental impact studies.1

Worse, the out-of-state mining companies who exploit Wisconsin’s natural resources will only be asked to reimburse a fraction of those costs. AB 426 would cap the amount that Gogebic Taconite –­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ or any company who pursues a mine – pays at $1.1 million, leaving Wisconsin taxpayers to foot the bill for a potential $2.7 million revenue shortfall.2

Costs the state will incur due to AB 426 as analyzed by the DNR include:

Pre-application and permitting costs for the DNR: $150,000 to $800,000 per year
DNR staff costs: $50,000 to $300,000 per year
Environmental-impact studies performed by a contractor: $350,000 to $2.7 million

And we’re not done yet. One must also account for the long-term costs of oversight by the DNR during the mining process as well as monitoring once the mine is closed, which would likely cost the state millions more.

Wisconsin taxpayers will no doubt object to footing the hefty bill, while Chris Cline, the CEO of the out-of-state firm that is proposing the mine, spends his days aboard his luxury yacht (complete with personal submarine) appropriately christened “Mine Games”3

Wisconsinites are tired of legislators playing games with their tax dollars. And they are tired of AB 426. There are plenty more reasons why AB 426 must be scrapped. Stay tuned for Part III of the “Scrap the Mining Bill Series.”

View “Part I: Voters Don’t Want It” here.

1. “Fiscal Estimate – 2011 Session LRB 11/3501/AB 426.” Wisconsin Department of Administration Division of Executive Budget and Finance. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/fe/ab426/ab426_DNR.pdf. January 5, 2011.

2. 2011 Assembly Bill __ (LRB-3520/1), Relating to the Regulation of Ferrous Metallic Mining. Wisconsin Legislative Council. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/fe/ab426/ab426_DNR.pdf. December 9, 2011.

3.Lippert, John. Parker, Mario. “New King Coal.” Bloomberg Markets Magazine. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-12/new-king-coal.html. October 12. 2010.

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Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin’s public health and natural resources.