Although the U.S. House passed a bill last week to speed up government review of gold, copper, silver and uranium mining, most Minnesotans are still unaware of efforts to increase mining in the state.
A poll by Mining Truth, a group of state environmental groups, showed 56 percent of Minnesotans aren't aware of proposals by PolyMet and Twin Metals to operate sulfide mines in northeastern Minnesota.
The House bill, pushed through by Republicans 246-178, makes it harder for opponents to mount legal challenges against new ventures and sets a 30-month timeline for environmental reviews. Rick Nolan, Minnesota's 8th District Democrat, voted for the bill.
Supporters said the bill would help create jobs by cutting back waiting periods for new "hard-rock" mining projects that can stretch up to 10 years. The bill would give U.S. officials discretion to waive federal environmental reviews and accept state reviews instead. It also sets a 60-day limit to file legal challenges.
Opponents called the bill a giveaway to the mining industry and an environmental disaster.
We'll get the latest on the debate in Minnesota.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.