Wisconsin GOP reintroduces mining changes

CREATED Jan 16, 2013

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican legislators have unveiled another bill to rewrite Wisconsin's iron mining laws.

Assembly Republicans introduced the sweeping, 206-page bill at a news conference Wednesday.

They promised the legislation would create thousands of jobs without lowering environmental standards.

The legislation closely mirrors a GOP bill that died in the state Senate last March.

Under its provisions, the state Department of Natural Resources would have up to 480 days to issue a mining permit, people could challenge the permit decision but not before its made, mining companies could offset damage to wetlands by restoring wetlands elsewhere.

Republicans hope the bill will convince a company called Gogebic Taconite to open an iron mine near Lake Superior.

Opponents insist the project will pollute one of the state's last pristine areas.