The Mystery of Meteor Timber
GOP bill would let company destroy hardwood wetlands, but the money trail is murky.
The money trail on the sand-mining company that received some breaks by the Republican-controlled Assembly is hard to discern.
The sand-processing plant, which would be located between Tomah and Black River Falls, is sought by Meteor Timber, a company owned by Atlanta, Ga.-based Timberland Investment Resources. The project would destroy about 16 acres of rare hardwood wetlands. The arguments for and against the project were reported in a Journal Sentinel story.
An amendment to benefit the project was added to an unrelated wetlands proposal, Assembly Bill 956, on a party-line vote late last week by the Assembly and sent to the Senate. The bill is scheduled for a Senate committee hearing Wednesday. The amendment, which was sought by Meteor, would exempt the company from some of the requirements the Department of Natural Resources imposed on the project.
Neither Meteor nor Timberland Investment Resources employees have contributed to current lawmakers or Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
But attorneys with Weld Riley, an Eau Claire law firm that represents Meteor, contributed $10,300 between January 2010 and June 2017 to Walker. In addition, John Behling, of Eau Claire, a Weld Riley attorney, is also a Walker appointee to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.
Two Republican lawmakers who supported the amendment and the bill also received contributions since January 2010 from Weld Riley attorneys. The lawmakers and the contributions were Reps. Kathy Bernier, of Lake Hallie, $250, and Warren Petryk, of Eleva, $225.