Wisconsin budget committee to vote on mining bill

Published On: Mar 01 2012 12:38:28 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 01 2012 12:38:54 PM CST

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Legislature's budget committee is poised to vote next week on a bill designed to jumpstart a northwestern Wisconsin iron mine.

The Republican bill dramatically reforms Wisconsin's permit process to help Gogebic Taconite dig a huge open-pit mine just south of Lake Superior.

Assembly Republicans passed the measure in January. The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on it Monday. Passage would clear the way for a full Senate vote.

But committee approval means little because Senate Republicans don't have the votes to pass it out of their chamber.

The GOP holds a one-vote majority in the Senate and Sen. Dale Schultz, a Richland Center Republican, says he can't support the measure because it eliminates public challenges to permit decisions and doesn't protect the environment.