MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker plans to sign a Republican bill lifting Wisconsin's nearly 20-year ban on gold and silver mining -- a ban he himself helped put in place as a legislator.
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.
Walker voted for the ban as a member of the Assembly.
The Assembly passed a bill last week that lifts the ban. The Senate followed suit on Tuesday evening, sending the bill to Walker's desk.
Walker's spokesman, Tom Evenson, said in an email that the governor supports the bill and intends to sign it. Evenson said if any state in the country can conduct safe and environmentally sound mining it should be Wisconsin.