In an interesting twist of events, Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, has rejected the compromise over the new iron mine in northern Wisconsin — despite the fact that the compromise was created by his fellow Republicans. Schultz holds the swing vote, and his rejection of the compromise was surprising. The mine itself has caused some people to go into a rage, but the mining company is working hard to secure a compromise that will make everyone happy. It seems, however, the state Legislature is muddled.
First, some facts about any new mine that would open in Wisconsin: There is the need for legislative oversight in order to improve it, environmental concerns would be addressed and jobs would be created. The last idea should strike home for many people, especially because of the current state of the economy, although it has certainly been improving since Gov. Walker’s reforms have taken place. This new mine would add even more jobs to the ones that have already been created. What also makes this interesting is the fact that this mine would create union jobs, not to mention the fact that most of the jobs created in the state as a result of Walker’s reforms are themselves union jobs. For this, people should be appreciative.
The mine does have environmental concerns. At the same time, so do a lot of things. Every time you start your car, you pollute. Every time a new coal-based power plant — the majority of power plants in Wisconsin — is opened, there are environmental risks. Risks can be minimized, which is what the mining company is proposing. But, overall, risks are inevitable. Many of the things we take for granted are due to necessary risks that we put on the environment. If we want to keep functioning as a core nation, these are risks we need to take. The benefits of the numerous jobs that the mine will create — union or otherwise — would make this mine a very viable option.
The goal of the new bill in Legislature is to make Wisconsin a lucrative place for mining companies, and the changes proposed in this new bill would allow for Wisconsin to be a better place for such business. The fact that such a compromise is being avoided is disappointing. The mine would be a great business investment, totaling somewhere to the tune of $1.5 billion. Monetary investment into the state, plus the creation of a large amount of jobs, many of them union jobs, and yet liberals still oppose it? I’m uncertain what it is the left wants anymore. Hate on Walker because he reduced the power of huge unions. Hate on Republicans who offer incentives to companies who create Wisconsin union jobs. Further hate on Walker because of the many, many union jobs he has created over the past year. Get it together, Democrats: Do you support unions or not?
Schultz’s decision may be due to the political pressure from recall threats. Still, supporting the mining bill compromise would be a wise idea. I would prefer to see a decision made regarding the mine, hopefully one that is in full support. Jobs are still very scarce despite the help that Walker has given us. Yet here some stand, looking a gift horse in the mouth. You usually don’t come into 1.5 billion by having bad business practices or trashing the environment, especially in a business that requires state legislative permission. The mine seems like a great idea, especially as Wisconsin struggles against a debt left by the previous governor, poor national economy and politicians who are uncertain if they support union workers or not. I say make up your mind, support the miners’ union and the many jobs that will be created, and bask in the positive economic outlook that Wisconsin is having for the first time in many years.
Vincent Borkowski ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in neurobiology.