(Wisconsin State Journal) Work has slowed to a crawl on a massive proposed iron mine that has served as Gov. Scott Walker’s signature job-creation effort.
Gogebic Taconite had aimed to submit a mining permit application this spring, but a key state regulator says it is unlikely the company will apply before 2016 because it isn’t conducting crucial water monitoring needed for an environmental impact study of the site in Iron and Ashland Counties.
Meanwhile, the company has cut its workforce to a half-dozen employees who are trying to redesign plans in light of an unexpected proliferation of wetlands that were found on the site last year, and a company spokesman said a proposed Iron County zoning ordinance has had a “chilling effect” on the project.
“We are taking a breather,” said corporate spokesman Bob Seitz. “We have to analyze a lot of things and do a lot of reassessing at this time.”
Last year the company announced it would cut about one-third of the $1.5 billion project that was to be in Ashland County because of actions by county leaders, and now Iron County officials are worried that the company will pull out completely, county zoning administrator Tom Bergman said.