The state Senate has sent a bill repealing Wisconsin’s so-called mining moratorium to the governor.
The legislation will allow companies to apply for permits to mine for copper, gold, silver, and zinc, without having to prove that they have done it elsewhere in North America without causing long term damage to the environment.
Wisconsin’s “prove it first” law on new sulfide mines in the state was passed 20 years ago with bipartisan support, including then-state Representative Scott Walker. Mining advocates argue its requirements are too restrictive, and technologies have improved since 1998 that will help protect the environment.
Opponents have warned ending the moratorium will put the state’s ground and surface waters at grave risk of catastrophic pollution from mine run-off.