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3M starts three new projects this year

By: Anna Wagnild
By: Anna Wagnild

Governor Jim Doyle is crediting a three month old pilot program between the state Department of Natural Resources and 3M with increasing the company's presence in Wisconsin.
His comments came during a visit Tuesday to 3M's facility in Menomonie.
Doyle says 3M has started three new construction projects as a result of faster access to state permits.
The program allows companies who are in compliance with state regulations for air quality to have more flexibility with the permits required by the DNR for new bulding or development.
"We all understand that the standards have to be met, nobody's backing off on standards at all," says Doyle. "But for those companies that have really demonstrated good records, we're going to give a lot more flexibility on how they meet standards."
Doyle says the reduced time for permits will help draw more industries into Wisconsin and make it easier for businesses like 3M to expand.
Both the governor and the DNR secretary said they want Wisconsin to be a state of high environmental standards but also high economic development.
Striking the right balance between the two is the crux of the problem for Eau Claire-based Menards, which has announced out of state expansions, blaming tight regulations.
Secretary Scott Hassett says negotiations involving wetlands are different than those involving air emissions, and often take longer to work out.
"The waters of the state belong to the people and we take that very seriously in this state and that's part of what makes this state great," says Hassett. "Nonetheless, we have to balance that with economic development."
Hassett says that talks between the two groups are frequent and he's optimistic about the eventual outcome.


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