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Public will have some access to land near Gogebic Taconite mine site

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - At least some public access will be allowed on recreational land at the proposed Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine near Lake Superior.  

Governor Scott Walker signed a bill Thursday that bans public access within 600 feet of mining roads, and 600 feet of most mining equipment.  

The original bill would have closed all 3,200 acres of the mining site, even though the landowner gets a state tax break to keep it open for things like hunting-and-hiking.

Senate Republican Tom Tiffany wanted to avoid a repeat of an incident in June in which protesters climbed on mining equipment, stole a worker's cell phone, and stole a video camera from an employee taping the vandalism.  

Walker accepted a compromise, which came after complaints that people who've hunted on the land for generations could no longer do so.  

The site's owner must give up part of its tax break if the land is closed -- and all of it would have to stay open for each November's gun deer hunt.  

Democrats still rejected the compromise, with one calling it a "sweetheart deal" for Gogebic Taconite. In a statement, Walker's only comment was that it, "focuses on the health and safety of visitors and workers at mining sites."

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)