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Democratic Sen. Cullen: Mine won't create thousands of jobs in next few years


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The main Democratic opponent of Wisconsin’s new mining incentive law does not buy Governor Scott Walker’s claim that it will create thousands of jobs in the next few years.

Janesville Senator Tim Cullen said Monday that it would be 7 to 10 years before iron ore mining could possibly begin at Gogebic Taconite’s proposed site in Ashland and Iron counties. And that’s assuming the company survives legal challenges, and the DNR’s process for getting a state permit.

The Republican Walker is on a trip to mining equipment plants in Rhinelander and Milwaukee Monday afternoon to sign the mining bill into law.

Among other things, it sets time limits for the state to act on mining permits. Plus it makes a number of environmental changes, while ending public challenges to the permit process before a mining license is issued.

Cullen said Republicans have suggested that it could be as little as two years before a mine could start operating. But Cullen – who chaired a state mining committee last year – said it would take 2 to 3 years just to get an application filed, and then 4 more years for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to give federal approval.

And if the expected lawsuits come about, Cullen said the process will take longer – perhaps up to a decade.