Mining firms could start digging for gold in Wisconsin for the first time in two decades, after an end to the state’s mining moratorium won final legislative approval. The Senate voted 19-14 Tuesday to send a bill to Governor Scott Walker that no longer requires companies to prove that they operated mines in other states or Canada without long term environmental damage. Democrat Janet Bewley of Ashland says mining firms could have proceeded all along by showing such proof — but none have ever since environmental concerns were raised about sulfide deposits, and the state adopted its moratorium in 1998. Several firms have expressed an interest in sulfide mining, and Senate Republican Tom Tiffany proposed to make it easier for them to get permits — insisting there’s no environmental risk. Green Bay Republican Rob Cowles (coles) joined all Democrats against the bill, and keeping the moratorium in place.