Construction workers rally in support of mining bill

CREATED Mar 6, 2012

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Construction workers and equipment operators have converged on the state Capitol in hopes of convincing the state Senate to approve a bill that would jumpstart an iron mine in northwestern Wisconsin.
Dozens of workers holding signs that read "Let Us Work" and "Mine Jobs Now!" gathered around the Capitol rotunda Tuesday about an hour before senators were scheduled to come to the floor.
The Republican bill dramatically rewrites Wisconsin's mining permitting rules. The bill is designed to clear the way for Gogebic Taconite's plans for a huge open-pit iron mine just south of Lake Superior.
The company has promised the project will create hundreds of jobs for economically depressed northwestern Wisconsin. But environmentalists fear the mine would pollute one of the most pristine areas in the state.