Democratic state Rep. Janet Bewly, of Ashland, speaks out against a Republican-backed bill being debated in the Assembly that would ease opening an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior on Thursday, March 7, 2013, in Madison, Wis. Assembly Republicans say the measure would bring jobs to an economically depressed area while Democrats voiced concerns that the pristine environment would be ravaged. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly approved a polarizing mining bill Thursday and sent the measure to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature, completing a long push to help a Florida-based company open a giant iron mine near the shores of Lake Superior over environmentalists’ objections.
Minority Democrats dragged out debate for nearly nine-and-a-half hours but were powerless to stop the measure. Republicans finally approved it on a 58-39 party-line vote.
The bill already has cleared the Senate. It now heads to Walker, who has touted the proposal as his key job creation plan. He is expected to sign it into law early next week.
“On behalf of the unemployed skilled workers in our state who will benefit from the thousands of mining-related jobs over the next few years, I say thank you,” Walker said in a statement.
It’s still unclear whether the bill will survive legal scrutiny, though. Conservation groups and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Login to read more