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Wis. governor signs new mining bill into law

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Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker signed a controversial new law Monday that relaxes enviromental regulations to expedite the permitting process for future iron mines in the state, the Milwaukee Journal Sentential reports.

The solely Republican-supported measure could clear the way for a giant $1.5 billion iron ore mine near Lake Superior in northwestern Wisconsin.

Mining company Gogebic Taconite claims the project could create 700 mining jobs and more than 3,000 construction jobs, according to Reuters.

However, the Wisconsin State Journal notes the new mine could still be years away. The company would also need federal regulators to approve the project because of nearby wetlands.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa told WDIO that it's raising money for a lawsuit aimed at stopping the project. It worries runoff will contaminate the water and rice beds of the adjacent reservation.

"After making substantial changes to the legislation, aimed at protecting our state's vital natural resources, the bill I signed into law [Monday] will preserve our tradition of clean land, water, and air," Gov. Walker said in a statement. "I am hopeful today’s actions will result in the creation of thousands of private sector jobs in the coming years."

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