MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republicans in the state Assembly have passed a sweeping bill to help a Florida-based company open an iron mine in northwestern Wisconsin.
The bill calls for state regulators to approve iron mine applications within a year and eliminates challenges to permitting decisions. The measure is designed to clear the way for Gogebic Taconite's plans to open an iron mine near Lake Superior.
The company has claimed their project will create hundreds of jobs. Conservationists, though, fear the mine will pollute one of the most pristine regions in the state and hurt the tourism industry. But Republican lawmakers are looking for ways to deliver on campaign promises to create jobs.
After nearly four-and-a-half hours of debate, the measure passed on a 59-36 vote. It now goes to the state Senate.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)