NEW INFORMATION: Wis. Republican: Must close mine forest for safety

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Republican lawmaker says the Legislature must close the woods around a northern Wisconsin mine site to protect miners and public workers from protesters.

Sen. Tom Tiffany has proposed a bill that would close around 4,000 acres in the Penokee Hills while Gogebic Taconite is exploring digging a iron mine there. The land around the site is part of the state managed forest program, which ensures it remains open for recreation.

Tiffany kicked off a public hearing on the bill in front of the Senate mining committee on Wednesday by showing a video recording of protesters accosting mine workers at the site in June. He says mine workers and public workers doing testing on the mine's environmental impact deserve to be safe.

Opponents say the bill is an overreaction.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Legislators are set to listen to the public sound off on a plan to close the woods around a mine site in far northern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite wants to dig a 4 1/2-mile-long iron mine in the Penokee Hills. Opponents fear the mine will pollute the pristine region. Protesters emerged from the woods around the site in June and accosted mine workers, prompting Gogebic Taconite to hire paramilitary-style guards.

The woods around the site are part of the state managed forest program, which ensures the land remains open for recreation.

Republican Sens. Tom Tiffany and Glenn Grothman have introduced a bill that would allow Gogebic Taconite to close the forest down. The Senate mining committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday.

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