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GOP says mining changes protect environment betterSubmitted: 02/04/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MADISON - Wisconsin's legislative Republicans said they wanted to work with Democrats in writing the newest mining bill.

Monday, they said they've compromised on many big concerns from Democrats.

GOP leaders in both the Senate and Assembly introduced amendments to the propsed mining bill.

They're confident the changes will strengthen environmental protections even more.

"Two things have to be preserved. One is Wisconsin's high environmental standards, regulations, and limitations. This is a work that's been ongoing for decades here in Wisconsin. We're very proud of our environmental heritage here in the state. But also that there be certainty for an applicant, that they're going to get an answer," said Hazelhurst Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany.

One major change forces the state DNR to communicate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps had voiced concerns about the quickened permitting timeline proposed in the bill.

Democratic Senator Tim Cullen introduced his own mining legislation last week.

He said Monday that the Republican changes made the proposal slightly better, but there was a long way to go.

The new amendments will be officially introduced and voted on Wednesday.

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