MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Senate is poised to lift Wisconsin's nearly 20-year ban on gold and silver mining.
Lawmakers passed statutes in 1998 that require sulfide mining applicants to show a similar mine has operated in North American for 10 years without polluting and a similar mine has been closed for 10 years without polluting.
State environmental officials have never made a final determination that any applicants ever met those standards, leading critics to brand the requirements a moratorium.
The Senate is set to vote on a Republican bill Tuesday that would eliminate the requirements and loosen mining companies' financial liability for environmental damage as well as sampling regulations.
The Assembly passed the bill last week. Senate approval would send the measure on to Gov. Scott Walker.