MADISON, Wis. - After months of bitter debate, Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that relaxes Wisconsin's mining regulations.
The governor signed the measure Monday at Oldenburg Group Inc., a Rhinelander mining equipment manufacturer. He has planned a ceremonial signing in Milwaukee later in the day.
The signing completes a major victory for Walker and his fellow Republicans. They've been working for the better part of two years to pass a bill to help Gogebic Taconite open a huge iron mine near Lake Superior. Republicans say the mine will create thousands of jobs.
Environmental groups contend the legislation will lead to pollution and are mulling lawsuits challenging the bill's provisions. The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is considering a legal challenge as well as occupying the mine site.
The Bad River Band of Lake Superior's leader says the tribe plans to immediately begin raising money for a possible lawsuit challenging Republicans' polarizing mining changes.
The Bad River's reservation lies just north of the mine site. The tribe fears run-off from the mine's waste rock would contaminate the reservation's water and destroy their cherished wild rice beds.
Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins Jr. tells The Associated Press the tribe plans to begin a fundraising drive by the end of the week to generate enough money to mount a court challenge.