Environmentalists fear the mine would devastate one of the state's most pristine regions near Lake Superior. They've called for strict guidelines that would ensure the quality of air, water and soil in the area.

A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to craft a new version of the bill that Schultz and Democratic opponents could support.

Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca said he wanted to make sure that any new mining bill have bipartisan support. He agreed it was important to move quickly so people could start going back to work, but he said the bill needs to broad enough to ensure proper environmental protections as well.

"We need to make sure the bill creates mining jobs and also protects our natural resources, as well as our tourism and agricultural economies that are so vital to Wisconsin," he said in a statement.

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Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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