Wiza to Host ‘Mayor’s Summit’ on Mining Bill
By Brandi Makuski
Mayor Mike Wiza has announced Stevens Point will host a mayoral summit on mining on Sept. 5.
According to a news release from Wiza’s office, he, along with Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink and Mayor Robert Mielke from Wausau, will meet at the Portage Co. Annex on Tuesday beginning at 10 AM. The trio will hear information on, then discuss, a proposed bill that will eliminate a moratorium on nonferrous metallic mining in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin statutes define nonferrous metallic mineral is defined as, “an ore or other earthen material to be excavated from the natural deposits on or in the earth for its metallic content but not primarily for its iron oxide content.”
The bill was reportedly introduced by State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Assemblyman Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) on Tuesday.
Wiza’s news release said the bill would “effectively rescind the ‘Prove it First’ law that has been around since 1998 and provides protections from the problem of acid mine drainage from metallic sulfide mining.”
The meeting will include a presentation by Seth Hoffmeister from the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization “dedicated to electing conservation leaders” among other natural resources concerns.
According to the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, there are no existing or potential metallic mining sites in Portage County. The closest potential metallic mining project is the Reef Deposit, is a potential high-grade gold deposit located in the Town of Easton in Marathon Co., containing an estimated 454,000 tons of “high-grade gold reserves”.
Nonetheless, Wiza said he feels the proposed legislation could have longstanding effects throughout the state.
“The impact of this bill would be far reaching with consequences that may be irreversible,” Wiza said. “We need to fully understand how this will impact the state, specifically Central Wisconsin and let our state representatives take our voice back to Madison.”
The meeting will be held in Conference Rooms 1 & 2 of the Annex, located at 1462 Strongs Ave. and is open to the public.