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Mining regulation changes shouldn't be rushed

There are great job opportunities across Wisconsin if open-pit iron mining is allowed.

That fact was obvious in the days following Gov. Scott Walker's State of the State address last week. Walker made mention of the great potential mining has in the state and elected officials and business interests scrambled to weigh in on the idea.

The legislature considered mining legislation in 2012 that would have allowed the opening of iron mines and other mines in northern Wisconsin. The plan failed to gain approval, but backers of the idea vowed to bring the idea back for a second go-around.

This time there seems to be more traction for the proposal.

While the expectation is that thousands of jobs could be created if the mining industry expands in the state, and billions of dollars of capital investment will also result, there is some wisdom in the idea that legislation should be considered fully prior to final approval.

There's no reason to rush into approving a pro-mining proposal. The idea should be fully debated and any legislation should be tweaked to ensure that Wisconsin's greatest resource, our environment, isn't compromised by full-scale mining operations.

Whatever decision is made concerning mining, the landscape of Wisconsin will be forever changed. Let your legislator know that voters expect the mining plan to move through the proper committee and approval channels so every aspect of the law can be debated.

In the end, a mining law may still be approved, but some additional protections may be generated that will safeguard our environment for generations to come.