Wisconsin Assembly to vote on lifting mining ban

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Assembly is set to take up a Republican bill next week that would lift Wisconsin's nearly 20-year ban on gold, silver and nickel mining.

Wisconsin lawmakers passed a bill in 1998 that requires sulfide mining applicants to prove a sulfide mine has operated in North American for 10 years without causing pollution and a similar mine has been closed for 10 years without causing pollution. Gov. Scott Walker voted for the measure as a member of the Assembly.

The bill's chief sponsors, Rep. Rob Hutton and Sen. Tom Tiffany, say the measure will help jump-start northern Wisconsin's economy.

The bill also limits mining companies' financial responsibility for environmental damage and exempt sampling operations from needing environmental impact statements.

The Assembly is expected to vote on the bill Tuesday.

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