The state Assembly's strip mining bill will actually threaten jobs and homes across Wisconsin. One example is flood insurance. According to analysis from FEMA, the bill could threaten the mortgages of almost 18,000 Wisconsin homes and businesses worth more than $3 billion. It contains a loophole that lets the mine company put waste in floodplains and exempts iron mines from state floodplain rules.

There are many other problems with the bill, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Council and Fiscal Bureau. Unlike in Minnesota and Michigan, this bill:

• Could cost taxpayers millions in mine permit costs.

• Could threaten state parks like Copper Falls just a few miles from the mine site.

• Has loopholes to allow polluted drinking water, acid pollution and polluted rivers.

• Takes rights away from citizens and the DNR to challenge junk science in the permit application.

I've proposed a bipartisan study committee to see what regulations are really needed to promote jobs while protecting our mortgages, flood relief, drinking water and environment. We should also require the company to hire Wisconsin workers if possible and pay them good wages.

We can review our laws and make changes if needed, but the Assembly bill is not a starting point for discussion. We should start over.

— Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison

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