MADISON - The mining debate in Wisconsin appears to be in the final stretch.
The state Assembly is getting set to vote on a bill Thursday night.
The measure could clear the way for the construction of an iron ore mine in Northern Wisconsin.
The state Senate has already passed the bill.
This is the second time the bill has made it to the Assembly floor. And Thursday, state legislators made their cases, one more time.
The debate ran all day on the floor of the state Assembly. Two minutes at a time, legislators weighed in on Senate Bill 1, commonly known as the mining bill. For many Republicans, it comes down to jobs.
"We should be talking about how we can drive our economy, and how we can employ our people, and how we can provide the best opportunity for the citizens of the state of Wisconsin moving forward," said State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.
But many Democrats say the mine would harm the environment.
"It will not bring Iron County and Ashland County wealth or prosperity. The statewide policies set in place by SB1 does not protect the environment. It especially does not protect the water resources in the area," said State Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber, D-Appleton.
The bill centers around a proposed $1.5 billion open-pit iron ore mine project in northern Wisconsin. The bill would ease the regulatory process for the developer Gogebic Taconite.
Supporters say safeguards are in place.
"We did not change them, we did not retreat from any of the air and water quality standards, and nor do we retreat from any of our emission standards. We want to make sure the environment is protected, but we also want to have certainty that those jobs will be created," said State Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford.
But Thursday afternoon,
"We're talking about our home," said Mike Wiggins, Jr. Bad River tribal chairman.
The chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa promised an all out effort to stop the mine. Mike Wiggins, Jr. conceded the mining bill may pass, but the fight is far from over.
"We are going to stand ready with delegated authority, science, lawyers and all of our resources that are available to prevent a mine in the Bad River watershed," said Wiggins.
The state Assembly has agreed to limit debate on the issue to nine and a half hours.
After almost 80 years, a piece of naval history is on its way home. A model of the Japanese luxury liner Hikawa Maru is being packed up in Manitowoc and returned to Japan.
Visitors to Green Bay's Neville Public Museum will soon see hours slashed. The county-owned attraction is cutting access starting the first of the year.
An 11-foot-long model of the Japanese passenger liner Hikawa Maru is being sent back to Japan after 34 years at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.
Area volunteers are making a difference in the community this holiday season. At this time of the year, many people are looking for ways to help their neighbors. The Salvation Army is one of the many places where you can do just that.
For the second year in a row, St. Norbert College could house overflow of homeless people from the St. John the Evangelist shelter in Green Bay.
A memorial fund has been created for a Grand Chute firefighter killed in a weekend car crash.