MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The state Assembly has approved a bill that would lift Wisconsin's nearly 20-year ban on gold and silver mining.
The Republican-controlled chamber passed the bill on a 53-38 vote on Thursday. Democrats warned lifting the prohibition would lead to devastating pollution, but Republicans said mining could help jump-start northern Wisconsin's economy.
Legislators passed a bill in 1998 that requires sulfide mining applicants to prove a similar mine has operated in North America for a decade without polluting and a similar mine has been closed for 10 years without polluting. Gov. Scott Walker voted for the measure as a member of the Assembly.
The bill goes next to the state Senate.