The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources plans to ask its board to authorize a hearing on rule changes reflecting the state's contentious new mining law.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill earlier this year relaxing the state's mining regulations. The bill was designed to clear the way for Gogebic Taconite to dig a massive open-pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior.
Environmentalists fear the mine will pollute the water-rich area. Protesters disrupted the company's exploratory drilling operations at the site last month.
The DNR is required to amend its administrative rules to reflect the new mining law's provisions. Agency officials plan to ask the Natural Resources Board during its Aug. 14 meeting in Baraboo to set a public hearing on the rules.