Budget committee to take up Wisconsin mining bill

Wisconsin Republicans are poised to vote next week on a divisive bill that would overhaul the state’s iron mining regulations.

The Joint Finance Committee has scheduled a vote on the Republican-authored measure on Monday.

Approval would send the bill on to the state Assembly and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Juneau Republican, says he expects that body will vote on Wednesday.

Passage is all but certain. The GOP controls the finance committee as well as both legislative houses.

The bill is designed to ease the regulatory path for Gogebic Taconite’s plans for a giant open-pit iron mine just south of Lake Superior. Environmentalists and Democrats insist the bill would allow the company to pollute the pristine area.