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Mining bill votes expected this week

Handout photograph of truck being loaded at Macarthur Coal's Coppabella mine
Handout photograph of truck being loaded at Macarthur Coal's Coppabella mine

MADISON (WRN-WSAU)  Key committee votes are scheduled this week, on a bill to re-write mining regulations in Wisconsin.  

State Representative Fred Clark says the role mining company G-tac played in drafting the bill has been well documented. They've shared concerns about the mining process with state lawmakers who were involved in re-writing the permitting process for mining. Some of the changes were specific to the proposed iron-ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties.Republican leaders have said they've made some changes in the bill. Clarke, a Baraboo Democrat, says he'll wait and see, when committees in the Senate and Assembly act on it tomorrow.

The fully developed mine is expected to be four miles long, a half-mile wide and up to a thousand feet deep. Supporters say it will bring hundreds of jobs to one of the most economically distressed areas of Wisconsin. Opponents, including Madison Democrat Representative Brett Hulsey, believe the bill will simply open the floodgates for litigation.