HAZELHURST, Wis. (WXPR) -- The author of Senate Bill 1, or what's known as the "mining bill" disagrees with one legislator's interpretation that mining is allowed on lake beds and waterways.
Democrat Dana Wach's bill would make it clear that certain types of mining would not be allowed on lake beds. He says the revised mining bill has loophole language to that effect.
State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst disagrees with Wach's assessment. "That is not a correct interpretation. I go back to the mining bill that I authored. There's a four part test that we apply in regards to the Public Trust Doctrine. You cannot impair riparian rights, you cannot impair flood flow, you cannot impair public rights for navigability purposes and you cannot degrade water quality. We did not change that."
Tiffany says one state agency, the Department of Transportation, has been granted permission to alter waterways. "The Dept. of Transportation has changed the courses of streams and impacted water bodies hundreds of times over the last few decades and it's legal for the (DOT) to do that. I'm wondering if (Rep. Wachs is) going to extend that to the State of Wisconsin."
Wachs says the Wisconsin Legislative Council sided with his interpretation of some language in the mining bill.