Timelines debated in WI Senate mining hearings

The recently formed Wisconsin Senate Select Committee on Mining held three hearings on current mining law.  Much of the focus, as Rebecca Kemble reports for the Progressive, was on timelines for the permitting process.

"Republican legislators pushing AB 426 last session claimed that mining companies needed better timelines and more certainty in the permitting process in order to invest in mining activities in Wisconsin," writes Kemble.

"All three experts [who testified at the Sept 18 hearing] concurred that the complex interplay of federal, tribal and state clean water and air regulations require that agencies collaborate with each other and with mining companies in crafting an Environmental Impact Statement of any proposed mine. If state standards and timelines differ significantly from federal ones, then a mining company would have to spend more time and money going through two parallel but divergent permitting processes before gaining approval."

But state Sen. John Lehman also flagged timelines in an email update, writing, "The changes that responsible mining proponents have requested involve adding certainty to the mining permit timeline and making tweaks to current law, not wholesale changes to our environmental protections."