On March 1, as the Capitol buzzed about the State Senate’s failure to pass the Assembly’s version of new mining legislation, the lone Republican holdout was telling a UW-Madison class why he was bucking his party.
Senators Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) and Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) spoke to Native American Environmental Issues and the Media, a class taught by Patty Loew, Professor of Life Sciences Communication. Cullen was standing in for Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), co-author with Schultz of an alternative, compromise mining bill, who was snowed-in up north.
Schultz said he was particularly concerned about Assembly bill’s “147 pages worth of changes to our environmental statutes that no one seemed to want to own” and its failure to provide the option of a contested case hearing, a process through in which opponents of a mine could make their case. Another concern is the lack of effort to get the views of people living near the proposed mine site. The two were just back from a trip to Ashland County, which included a listening session in the community of Mellen, where the mine would be sited, and a visit to the nearby reservation of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe.
“It’s amazing how simple it is to go listen to somebody who’s affected. It can make you a whole lot smarter person real fast,” Cullen said.
Schultz and Cullen urged students to listen for themselves by viewing video of the Ashland listening session and other mine-related events on the state’s WisconsinEye channel (posted under “Friday, March 02” under the Channel Schedule).