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200 turn out for mining bill hearing in far north

Published On: Feb 09 2013 03:57:36 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 10 2013 02:23:16 AM CST

ASHLAND, Wis. -

At least 200 people have jammed a hearing in Ashland to tell legislators how they feel about legislation to streamline the state's mining laws.

A Wisconsin State Journal report said most of the attendees spoke Saturday against changing the state's permitting process. They said they're concerned about environmental damage that could take decades or longer to repair.

The listening session was organized in response to proposed legislation that would help a mining company open a massive iron mine in far northwestern Wisconsin. Republicans said the bill will help it create hundreds of jobs.

Mike Wiggins Jr. is the tribal chairman of the Bad River Chippewa Band. He said the mine would threaten sacred rice beds.

Bayfield Mayor Larry McDonald said he's concerned about potential damage to Lake Superior.

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