Wisconsin GOP set to roll mining bill

CREATED Feb. 25, 2013

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Republicans are poised this week to start pushing their contentious mining bill toward passage.

The Legislature's budget committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Monday. Approval will set up votes in both the state Senate and Assembly.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday.

The Assembly is expected to vote during the first week in March. Republican leaders in that chamber are aiming for March 6.

Passage is all but certain. The GOP controls both legislative houses and Republican Gov. Scott Walker backs the proposal.

The measure is designed to clear the regulatory path for Gogebic Taconite's plans for a huge iron mine near Lake Superior.

Democrats and environmentalists warn the bill would open the door for pollution that would devastate the pristine area.