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MASON - For a lot of people in northern Wisconsin, the possibility of an iron ore mine is personal. The story is not any different for Shawn Miller, who can look out to his own backyard and be reminded of what is at stake.
Aside from being a lifelong resident of a town just a few miles away from the proposed mine, Miller is also the chair of the Bayfield Bounty Board; a group that overwhelmingly denied a resolution Tuesday night that would approve of mining in an environmentally and economically sound way.
The decision came after dozens of residents and tribal members spoke against it for hours.
"I don't know if anybody's been assured that the mining can be done safely and I guess that's the biggest issue," Miller said.
Miller, like many, cannot deny the mine could bring a financial benefit to the area.
But, the issue is not always that simple.
"I'm sort of on the fence of the whole thing," Miller said. "I guess economically, I own a business here and it would probably help me, but I also grew up playing in those hills and spending time."
Miller is not the only local who is unsure how to soak in the possibility of a mine.
"I'm not really for it or against it," Jeff Delegan from Mellen said. "I'm probably right in the middle."
Delegan lives and works even closer to where the action would be; he grew up in Mellen and fears that a false impression could be stirring up excitement for the mine.
"Mainly I think jobs, that a lot of people think it's going to be their saving grace and they're going to go up there and get this big job that pays a lot of money," Delegan said. "I just don't see that happening for a lot of folks."
Whether it's financial reasoning or personal opinion the jury is still out on what the best decision is for northern Wisconsin.
Some can see the benefits coming in, but others worry that the landscape as they know it could be on its way out.
"Once it's gone it's gone forever," Miller said.