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Governor to Review State’s Use of Sportsman’s Fees for Wisconsin Mine

WI DNR
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Gov. Scott Walker will review how the state is using hunting and fishing fees, which are currently being used for a proposed Wisconsin mine.

Governor Scott Walker plans to review whether the state will continue to use hunting and fishing fees to pay for costs to oversee a proposed Wisconsin mine.

Sportsman’s fees and taxpayer dollars are being allocated by the state to pay for the costs of overseeing an iron mine to be built in northwestern Wisconsin.

The state has already spent $260,000 that it will not recover from the mining company.

Walker spoke of his feelings towards the state’s actions saying, “I’d prefer that the fees collected for anything to do with hunting, fishing and trapping stay in those particular areas, and that’s something we’ll certainly review, not just specific to this case but anything out there.”

The Department of Natural Resources is interpreting a law approved two years ago, which eased environmental regulations, and the state is expected to continue to pay for the mine. The legislation lowered how much mining companies have to pay the state for environmental reviews. A cap of two million dollars was established by the law, and spares the companies from having to pay for required water and air permits.

Executive Director for Wisconsin Wildlife Federation George Meyer told reporters that the arrangement is unfair to taxpayers and outdoor enthusiasts. The state costs are being handled differently than they were for the Flambeau mine and the proposed Crandon mine. However, Senator Tom Tiffany, sponsor of the mining legislation, told reporters that the state is absorbing the costs as expected since this is a large project.

According to Bill Cosh, DNR spokesman, the department has already accounted for the billing to the mining company Gogebic Taconite. The DNR is billing Gogebic for some of the costs, but $258,968 is being incurred by the department.

The proposed mine would be about four miles long and close to 1,000 feet deep. Creating an estimated 700 jobs, the mine is expected to be open for 35 years.

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Governor to Review State’s Use of Sportsman’s Fees for Wisconsin Mine