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Assembly passes restrictions on mine access

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Public access to a proposed iron ore mine site in northern Wisconsin would be restricted under a bill headed to Gov. Scott Walker for his consideration.

The Assembly passed the bill Thursday 54-39. The Senate passed the bill last week and now it goes to Walker.

The bill would establish 600-foot restricted zones around mining equipment and roads at the site.

Gogebic Taconite wants to dig a huge iron mine in the Penokee Hills east of Mellen. About 3,500 acres around the site is open to the public through the state’s managed forest program.

The company fears protesters are taking advantage of that access to harass mine workers as they conduct sampling and other tests. But Democratic opponents say those concerns are overblown and the access restrictions are an overreaction.

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