Wisconsin’s moratorium on new sulfide mines is one step closer to being repealed. The state Assembly voted 55-38 on Thursday to let mining companies dig for copper, gold, silver, and zinc without having to prove that they’ve done it elsewhere without causing long term damage to the environment. The bill’s supporters say mining is safer and cleaner now than it was in 1998 when the mining moratorium was adopted — but opponents say ending the moratorium would cause more water pollution. Republicans Travis Tranel, Jeff Mursau, Pat Snyder, and Todd Novak joined all Democrats in voting no — and the Assembly made some changes to try and appease senators who are said to be skeptical about the bill. Among other things, no mining could take place where permits are being challenged — and it would be harder for companies to find loopholes to avoid taxes.