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Report: Gogebic Taconite had role in crafting GOP mining bill

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The company that wants to build a new iron ore mine in far northern Wisconsin was again able to write parts of the law they might end up following.

Drafting records show that Gogebic Taconite had a hand in writing the bill that’s currently before the Legislature.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the liberal group One Wisconsin Now dug up those records. They show that Gogebic wants changes in groundwater, wetland, and navigable water standards which Democrats say would hurt the environment.

Gogebic also wrote parts of the bill which failed to pass the Legislature a year ago. Company lobbyist Bob Seitz defended the firm’s involvement. As the only current metallic mining firm in Wisconsin, Gogebic said its input should be expected.

But One Wisconsin Now said the company got preferential treatment. Director Scot Ross said the public and environmental groups never got chance to add their ideas when the bill was drafted.

The group also criticized the campaign gifts from mining supporters to the governor and legislators.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said special interests which support mining gave over $600 in campaign donations for every $1 given by mining opponents. Most of the money went to Governor Scott Walker’s campaign.

Mining committees in both houses are scheduled to vote a week from Wednesday on endorsing the mining package in its current form. 

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