UPDATE: Hundreds pack hearing on mining bill - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Hundreds pack hearing on mining bill

WEST ALLIS (AP) -- Hundreds of people have packed a public hearing on a bill designed to jump-start an iron mine in far northwestern Wisconsin.

The Assembly jobs committee is considering a Republican bill that would streamline the state's rigorous permitting process for Gogebic Taconite, which wants to mine iron in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior. Mine supporters say the project would create hundreds of new jobs. Opponents worry the mine would pollute one of the most pristine regions in the state.

Hundreds jammed the hearing at State Fair Park in West Allis on Wednesday morning. Many stood against the wall and dozens more stood outside the room in the hallway. Committee aides said about 130 people had registered to speak.

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The public will get a chance to sound off on a Republican bill designed to help start a mine in far northwestern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite wants to open an iron mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior. The company says the mine will create hundreds of jobs, but environmentalists worry it will pollute the pristine region.

The company has put its plans on hold until legislators can promise a clear end point in the state's rigorous permitting process. The new bill would require state officials to approve or deny a mine application within a year, eliminate administrative challenges to permitting decisions and limit lawsuits over permit violations.

The Assembly jobs committee plans to hold a public hearing on the bill Wednesday morning in West Allis.

 

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