Wisconsin Assembly Passes Mining Bill, Environmental Activists Disagree

Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 7:32 am

The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a polarizing mining bill backed by Republicans, completing a two-year push to help a company dig a giant iron mine near Lake Superior.

The Assembly passed the measure on a 58-39 vote Thursday. Republican Gov. Scott Walker has promised to sign it into law.

Gogebic Taconite has refused to move forward with its plans for an open-pit mine in northwestern Wisconsin until legislators ease the regulatory path.

The bill dramatically reworks Wisconsin’s mining rules. It puts a deadline on a final permit decision and declares any wetland damage is presumed necessary.

Clean Wisconsin government relations director Amber Meyer Smith released a statement following the Assembly’s party-line passage of the open-pit mining bill. Smith’s statement said in part that Clean Wisconsin will closely monitor any applications to mine in the state and vigorously oppose any proposed mine that threatens the health of Wisconsin residents and the state’s water resources.

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