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VIDEO REPORT: Wis. Dem Introduces Own Mining Bill

UPDATED Tuesday, January 22, 2013 --- 6:45 p.m.

Democratic State Senator Tim Cullen proposed a bill that would rework the state's regulations surrounding iron mining.

"Some will say this is a democratic bill, but I'm proud to say it's a bipartisan bill. In fact, I would go further by saying it's a non-partisan bill. It reflects what we learned," Cullen said.

There's been contention between Republicans and democrats on this issue since last year's republican bill that would have overhauled state regulations to persuade a company to open a huge iron mine near Lake Superior.

The republican proposed bill released last week mirrors the one that failed last year by just one vote. That vote was made by republican State Senator Dale Schultz who stood alongside Cullen today.

"I am deeply disappointed with the product overall... They actually managed to make it worse," said Schultz.

Cullen's bill would create a longer time frame for permit approval, allowing the public to challenge the decision making process while it's still in progress.

Representative Scott Suder, co-author of the republican bill, says he's open to Cullen's proposal, but he's confident the re publican's bill will make these jobs a reality.

"We're looking at the potential of thousands and thousands of jobs and a two billion dollar economic impact for northern Wisconsin and looking at opportunities galore," said Suder.

He went on to say, "We can do this right. We can protect the environment. We can protect air and water quality. And we can create all of those jobs."

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UPDATED Tuesday, January 22, 2013 --- 2:30 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Senate Democrat has introduced his own legislation to rework the state's regulations as rival Republicans try to persuade a company to open a huge iron mine near Lake Superior.

Republicans have unveiled a bill that would overhaul iron mining regulations to help Gogebic Taconite open a huge mine straddling the Ashland-Iron County line.

Sen. Tim Cullen, a Janesville Democrat, released his own bill on Tuesday. It would create a longer time frame for permit approval than the GOP bill. Unlike the Republican measure, Cullen's bill would allow the public to challenge the decision-making process while it's still in progress.

The bill looks doomed, though. Republicans control both the Senate and Assembly. But Cullen says he hopes the GOP will at least incorporate some of his ideas into their bill.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Thursday, January 17, 2013 --- 4:39 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Democratic lawmaker has postponed introducing his version of new mining regulations until next week.

Sen. Tim Cullen formed a bipartisan committee last year to study Wisconsin's mining regulations and develop strategies for streamlining them. He formed the group after a Republican bill that would have overhauled the state's regulations failed in the Senate by one vote in March.

Republicans unveiled a bill Wednesday that mirrors the proposal that died. The new bill didn't include any ideas from Cullen's committee, leaving the Janesville Democrat incensed.

Cullen promised to introduce his own bill on Friday. But his office says drafting has been delayed, pushing the introduction back to Tuesday.

Cullen's bill has almost no chance of passing, at least not as a comprehensive proposal. Republicans control both the Senate and Assembly.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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