MARQUETTE, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News) – The Wisconsin State Senate has approved a bill overhauling Wisconsin’s mining regulations and eases the regulatory path for an open-pit iron mine to be built just south of Lake Superior.
The GOP contends the mine creates hundreds of jobs. Minority Democrats counter the bill relaxes environmental protections and opens the door to pollution of the region.
According to the Duluth News Tribune, the Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill 17-16 yesterday after nearly nine hours of debate. Republicans have been working for nearly two years to help Gogebic Taconite dig an open-pit mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior. Their bill changes the state’s mining rules to clear the company’s regulatory path.
Republicans insist the measure would help the company create hundreds of jobs at the mine and pave the way for thousands more around the state. Democrats and conservationists maintain the company’s job promises are exaggerated and the bill loosens environmental protections that would allow the mine to pollute one of the state’s last pristine areas.
The Republican-controlled State Assembly is expected to take the bill up next week. Approval there would send it to Governor Scott Walker who is expected to sign it into law.
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