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Wisconsin approves bill to end ban on sulphide mining

Legislation approved in Wisconsin to repeal 1998 environmental law

The Wisconsin Assembly has approved the repeal of the effective moratorium on sulphide mining.

The legislation was approved by a 53-38 vote and is now subject to Senate action.

Currently a mining company must prove that a sulphide mine is capable of operating for 10 years, and then closing for 10 years, without polluting groundwater or surface waters with acid rock drainage.

The almost unanimous legislation was passed in 1998 with bipartisan support, and was signed by the 42nd Governor Republican Tommy Thompson.

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“This isn’t a moratorium. It just says certain conditions need to be met,” commented Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, Assembly Minority Leader.

“Removing those conditions suggests there’s going to be some compromise of standards.”

The concern about this legislation is the environmental impact and integrity that could be put at risk all for the sake of short-term profits.

“The bill simple ends the moratorium and allows for the discussion to take place,” regarded Republican Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield.

“Mining is a part of our future, and it should continue to be a part of the discussion for our growth in the economy.”

Hutton continued to argue that legislation has no effect on the standards set by the state Department of Natural Resources.

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