District 48 Assembly Candidate Andy Heidt

In a press release this morning, 48th Assembly District candidate Andy Heidt called for swift bipartisan opposition to changes in the permitting process for new mining operations in the state. Saturday’s Wisconsin State Journal reported plans by two Republican legislators to introduce and pass legislation eliminating public hearings and shortening the process to be finished by July 1.

“Lawmakers in both parties must come together to protect the integrity of the existing process,” Heidt said. He further emphasizes that “No changes should be made while there is a permit on the table. Out of state interests must not be allowed to engage in economic blackmail.”

Here’s the full press release:

Heidt Condemns Fast Track Mining Approval
Andy Heidt, candidate for Assembly in the 48th District, is calling for swift bipartisan opposition to changes in the permitting process for new mining operations in the state. Saturday’s Wisconsin State Journal reported plans by two Republican legislators to introduce and pass legislation eliminating public hearings and shortening the process to be finished by July 1.
“Lawmakers in both parties must come together to protect the integrity of the existing process,” Heidt said. He further emphasizes that “No changes should be made while there is a permit on the table. Out of state interests must not be allowed to engage in economic blackmail.”
Cline Mining Corporation, a multinational mine development company operating in British Columbia and Colorado, seeks to open the Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine in the Penokee Range and has threatened to “re-evaluate” its plan if the legislation is not enacted. The mine would be situated near the headwaters of the Bad River, which flows to Lake Superior, and would stretch between Ashland and Iron counties. Citizens and tribal leaders alike oppose the site of the mine.
Heidt, a longtime community activist and labor leader, advocates strong environmental protection and local control in decision-making. “The promise of jobs in the short run must not be allowed to run roughshod over the long-term health and well-being of our people, communities, and environment,” he argues. “Tourism, fishing, and hunting all depend on the beauty and viability of our lands.” Finally Heidt adds, “Economic development that destroys the environment is not economic development.”
In addition, Heidt is calling upon the legislators involved to fully disclose their campaign contributions from mining interests.

“It is especially ironic and inappropriate,” he said, “that those who are leading the effort to shut out the public on this issue are from districts far removed from the proposed mine site.” The State Journal reported that Representative Mark Honadel of South Milwaukee, one of the legislation’s proponents, did receive contributions.

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