Wisconsin mining jobs are years away, Cullen says
MADISON How soon will Wisconsin see the mining jobs?
Gov. Scott Walker last week issued a news release hailing the Legislature’s passage of the mining bill, referring to “thousands of mining-related jobs over the next few years.”
Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, on Monday issued a statement saying that a mine is “is seven to 10 years away—if an applicant even survives the permitting process and withstands inevitable litigation.”
Later Monday, the governor, in announcing that he had signed the bill into law, referred to “thousands of private-sector jobs in the coming years.”
Asked for a reaction to Cullen’s statement, governor’s spokesman Cullen Werwie referred to the latest wording, “in the coming years.”
Cullen said other supporters of the bill have predicted the opening of an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin within two years.
“Supporters of the new law, including the governor, are completely misleading the people of Wisconsin—especially those looking for jobs—by saying a mining operation could begin in as little as two years,” Cullen said in his statement.
Cullen was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Mining last year when the Democrats briefly gained control of the Senate.
A pre-application process that would include borings, exploration and hydrological studies would take two to three years, followed by the Army Corps of Engineers permitting process that would take four or more years, Cullen said. Legal challenges would follow.
Cullen also pointed to a statement by Tim Sullivan, who heads the Wisconsin Mining Association.
Sullivan was quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 29 as telling the Senate Select Committee on Mining: “We’re not talking a year or two years. You’re talking five, six years out, potentially even further, depending on how the permit process goes.”