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Burke: If elected, will try to stop the GTAC mine
While Governor Walker is full speed ahead on the proposed iron ore mine in the Penokee Range, his Democratic challenger Mary Burke wants to put on the brakes. Mike Simonson reports.
While Governor Scott Walker is full speed ahead on the proposed iron ore mine in the Penokee Range of northern Wisconsin, his Democratic challenger Mary Burke wants to put on the brakes. Mike Simonson reports.
Gogebic Taconite says the $1.5 billion dollar project will create 600 jobs at what would be the largest open pit iron ore mine in North America. Although opponents dispute the numbers, Walker says GTAC’s investment will become an economic engine in an area that has some of the highest unemployment numbers in the state.
Democrat Burke says she’s aware of Iron County’s double-digits jobless rates and Ashland County at 8.5% in May. But she says this mine with newly-passed legislation backed by Walker would threaten public health and destroy the environment. So she will try to stop the GTAC mine.
“I will certainly look at every tool that I have and to make sure that we are protecting our natural resources. Our air, our water are so important not only to the people who live in the community but to the tourism industry as well.” :16
She thinks GTAC should pay impact fees to surrounding towns that incur costs because of the 4½ mile long mine.
“They need to be fairer, particularly in the communities that they’re operating in and that those communities should see the benefits.” :07
Burke says an economic development fund should be started to create other jobs.
“We have to look at the assets and the opportunities across the northern part of the state and understand how we can have a more vibrant economy because I take very seriously the loss of jobs there.”
Meanwhile, since this story first aired on WPR June 30, Burke's campaign manager says she was misrepresented by our story and that she does not oppose the GTAC mine if it could be held to the standards of former mining legislation that was revamped this year by the Republican-controlled legislature.
Besides the interview with WPR, the issues section of her webpage under Natural Resources first paragraph reads: "As Governor, Mary Burke will bring all of the stakeholders to the table to find the right balance between economic development, and our public health and natural resources. By letting mining companies write their own rules, Scott Walker’s policies have put Wisconsin’s public health and great outdoors at risk. That’s why Mary opposes the GTAC mine – the approach the Governor, legislature and industry took didn’t balance protection of our natural resources and public health with the need for job creation."
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