MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Republican backers of a bill to make it easier to open a new iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin say changes to their proposal will better protect the environment by taking into account concerns raised by Democrats and others.  But Democrats balked at the changes announced Monday, calling them “baby steps” that don’t do enough to protect the state’s water and other natural resources.  Democratic Sen. Tim Cullen watched the news conference and said afterward the changes made the proposal slightly better, but there was a long way to go.  One change calls for the state to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to issues including the timeline of permitting a mine.