State Senator Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, may vote against lifting the moratorium on mining in Wisconsin, according to Jerry Bader at Media Trackers. “Cowles tells Media Trackers he has not made a final decision but needs to know the bill will protect water quality before he can vote for it,” Bader reported.

Republicans control the Wisconsin Senate with a 20-13 majority, so the loss of one vote does not put the bill to lift the moratorium in jeopardy. The bill already passed the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry last week on a party line vote and is awaiting action by the full Senate.

Opponents of lifting the moratorium claim that sulfide mining could be detrimental to Wisconsin’s waterways and water quality in the mining areas. However, the last sulfide mine near Ladysmith, WI was closed without harm to the environment in 1997. It is now a recreation area.