Public hearing on mining bill draws crowd

MADISON (AP) -- Dozens of people have jammed a hearing on a bill to jumpstart an iron mine in northwestern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite wants to mine just south of Lake Superior. Company officials want lawmakers to guarantee a stopping point in the state's open-ended permit process before they move forward, though.

Assembly Republicans have passed a measure that would require a permitting decision within a year, eliminate contested case hearings and cap application fees at $2 million. It now goes to the state Senate.

The Legislature's budget committee opened a public hearing on the measure Friday morning. Rep. Robin Vos, the committee's co-chairman, says he wants finish by 5 p.m.

Sen. Pam Galloway is sponsoring the Assembly bill in the Senate. She told the committee the mine would be an economic boom.