Hundreds of people turned out at a hearing in West Allis to laud or lambaste a bill that would ease Wisconsin's rigorous permitting process, opening the door to an iron mine in northwestern Wisconsin.
Florida-based Gogebic Taconite LLC has said its proposed $1.5 billion mine would create hundreds of jobs. Opponents, particularly environmentalists, said the mine could prove devastating to one of the most pristine parts of Wisconsin.
Republicans backing the bill have been criticized for holding the hearing so far from the proposed mine in northern Wisconsin, but they said a hearing was held in October in Hurley, before the bill was introduced.
On Friday, state Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, and state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, announced they will hold their own public hearing on the legislation, starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 7 at Ashland High School.
“I was truly saddened to see that citizens spent 15 hours on a bus (to attend the West Allis hearing) and were limited to only 3 minutes of testimony," Bewley said in a statement. "It is so important that we hold a hearing in the north to ensure that every citizen from our area regardless of their position on the bill will get a chance to offer testimony."
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