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Wis. GOP Promises Mining Will Be First Bill

Posted at: 01/02/2013 11:07 AM
Updated at: 01/02/2013 6:27 PM

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Assembly Republican leaders say the first bill they'll introduce this session will reform Wisconsin's mining laws.

Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Suder released a statement Wednesday calling the bill a top priority. They said the measure will help create thousands of jobs but didn't offer any details on what changes the bill might make.

Suder said in an interview Republicans are using a version of a mining reform bill the Legislature's budget committee approved last March as a starting point but discussions are ongoing.

Vos and Suder's announcement came as Republican Gov. Scott Walker hit the road to stump for mining reform at state businesses.

Republicans pushed a mining reform bill during the last session to help Gogebic Taconite open an iron mine in Ashland and Iron Counties. The company promised the mine would create 700 jobs.

Environmentalists, though, insisted the project would devastate the pristine area. The bill ultimately died in the Senate, leading Gogebic Taconite to pull out of the project.  Lawmakers still believe a mine at the site is possible.

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