Gov. Walker signs two bills into law Thursday - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gov. Walker signs bills restricting mine access, creating new crossbow season


MADIOSN (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker's office announced Thursday he has signed into law a bill that would restrict public access to a potential iron mine site in northern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite is looking to dig a 4 1/2-mile long open-pit mine in the Penokee Hills east of Mellen, and about 3,500 acres around the site is open to the public through the state's managed forest program. The company fears protesters are taking advantage of that access to harass mine workers as they conduct mineral sampling and other tests.

The Republican-sponsored bill creates 600-foot restricted zones around mining equipment and roads at the site.

Walker's office released a statement saying the bill focuses on the health and safety of site visitors and mine workers.

Gov. Scott Walker has also signed into law a bill that creates a new open crossbow season to run concurrently with the state's archery deer season.

Crossbow hunting was previously allowed only for people over age 65 and those with physical disabilities. The new law lets hunters of all legal ages and physical abilities use crossbows to hunt deer and other smaller animals, including rabbits and coyotes.

The crossbow season will be the same as the archery deer season, which runs from mid-September until the end of November or beginning of December, depending on the year.

The law passed in the legislature despite some opposition from traditional bow-and-arrow hunters who worried allowing a crossbow would taint archery hunting.

The governor signed this bill on Tuesday.

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