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Wisconsin Adopts Sweeping Mining Regulations

Written by Ankin Law Office

Wisconsin lawmakers approved controversial mining legislation last week and sent the bill to Governor Scott Walker for his approval, according to the Associated Press. The legislation opens the door for a Florida company to launch a large iron mine on the shores of Lake Superior, in spite of vociferous objections by environmentalists.

The bill enacts massive changes to the state’s mining regulations, including a new 480-day deadline on permitting decisions, a prohibition on public challenges until a permit has been granted, and exemptions from certain state recycling fees for mining companies.

Republican lawmakers tout the bill’s job creation benefits, but environmentalists plan to challenge the legislation in court, saying that the bill will result in pollution to the area.

Another potential legal hurdle to the legislation could be the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, whose reservation is located just north of the proposed mine site where the Bad River empties into Lake Superior. The tribe fears potential water contamination caused by runoff from the mine waste and the AP reports that, as a sovereign nation, the tribe could request that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require the mine site to meet the reservation’s own water quality standards.

Moreover, according to the AP, tribal leaders say that they have been excluded from mining discussions, which could potentially amount to a violation of treaty conditions that require lawmakers to consult with the Bad River Tribe on any actions that affect the tribe’s hunting and fishing rights.

Although proponents of the new legislation point to its ability to create jobs for the area, mining is among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Mining accidents include rock falls, tunnel collapses, fires, heat exhaustion, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Mining can cause a number of long-term health problems and medical conditions, including respiratory problems such as silicosis, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and lung cancer.

At Ankin Law Office, LLC, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers across a wide range of industries, including mining workers. We are committed to promoting employee rights and worker safety measures. Whatever your workplace injury, we can help you get the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled, along with pursing any applicable third-party claims.

Moreover, our skilled Chicago toxic tort attorneys are familiar with the various laws pertaining to asbestos litigation and other workplace toxin claims.  If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos or other dangerous toxic chemical while on the job, contact the experienced Chicago toxic tort law firm of Ankin Law Offices at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your asbestos toxic tort claim.