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GOP-backed mining bill clears Assembly committee (UPDATE)

Republican state Sen. Tom Tiffany, of Hazelhurst, describes the latest version of a bill that changes the process for allowing new iron ore mines to open in Wisconsin at a news conference with other state lawmakers on Jan. 16 in Madison. A Republican-backed bill passed an Assembly committee Wednesday over Democratic objections. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A Republican-backed bill designed to make it easier to open a new massive iron ore mine near Lake Superior has passed an Assembly committee over Democratic objections.

The bill passed the committee on a 10-6 party line vote Wednesday. A Senate committee was also considering an identical bill.

Assembly Democrats argue the legislation is moving too quickly, doesn’t have enough protections for the environment and won’t create the jobs promised by Republicans.

But supporters say the measure takes into consideration many concerns raised by Democrats. Before passing it, the committee made several changes that Democrats had pushed for.

Republican lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker are hoping to act quickly on the measure, which they say will improve the state’s regulatory process and lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs.

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