It's not like the Gogebic mine is down for the count, but a recent development has left it reeling and heading for a neutral corner. From a story today from Wisconsin Public Radio, the Army Corps of Engineers has sent the state DNR a letter saying that they will not be able to work with the DNR on some of the mine permitting process. There has always been speculation that this would be the outcome of the "streamlined" permitting process that was instituted by the state legislature.
The gist of this is that the Army Corps doesn't believe they can work with the state on developing an environmental impact statement due to the new artiificial time constraints imposed by the state mining bill. Therefore, there will be two different EIS's - one for the state, one for the federal government.
Former DNR secretary George Meyer is quoted in the story as saying "“From a practical standpoint, it puts the federal government in control of the regulatory process and makes the state process much more meaningless,” says Meyer. “It probably also will lead to more complicated and lengthy litigation.”
More litigation, more conflict with the federal government, and stalling things moving forward by trying to hurry them up. This is a familiar and repeating story from our current legislature, which apparently would not know good laws if they were socked in the eye with them. I suspect the final outcome of this will be that the permitting process for the mine will now be slower than it would have been had the state not decided to change the rules to benefit Gogebic. I would say this is ironic, but clearly irony is lost on our current legislators, who will continue to move legislation solely to support their ideology, while giving no thought to the long-term effects. Meyer speculates in this story that the permitting process could be delayed by at least five years by this development. So much for streamlining.