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Mining bill advances through committees

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MADISON (WSAU)   The Wisconsin Assembly’s Mining Committee was the first to endorse a Republican plan to attract a new iron ore mine to Ashland and Iron counties. The panel voted 10-to-6 this afternoon – with all Democrats voting no – in favor of a bill that streamlines the process of obtaining a state mining permit. It calls for a 480-day maximum time limit, reduced environmental protections, and an end to public legal challenges to the D-N-R’s mining decisions.

Majority Republicans approved several amendments that restored and guaranteed some of the environmental protections. But Democrats on the panel said it wasn’t enough, and it won’t create the jobs that Republicans have promised. Also, the Democrats said the bill was being pushed through too quickly – and they tried but failed to get one-month delay on the Assembly committee’s approval.

The Senate’s mining committee was considering the same legislation this afternoon.

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