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ASHLAND - The love of Lake Superior is bringing south shore communities together, but it is not the sort of exciting situation some would have hoped for.
"It should be a concern for the whole state of Wisconsin," Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen said. "This is for the state; this is not just for us."
On Monday, Whalen met up with local tribal leaders and the mayors of Bayfield and Washburn to draft up a resolution that lists concerns with mining bills now on the table in the Wisconsin legislature.
"It's not necessarily about being against mining specifically," Washburn Mayor Scott Griffiths said. "It's about watching G-TAC come in and basically handcraft legislation that maximizes their profits and minimizes their liabilities."
Both mayors claim the bills, which are set to be voted on in the next few days, appear to heavily favor Gogebic Taconite, the main contender for the new site.
The company has said the project would create hundreds of jobs for the region.
Still, the mayors say that does not outweigh the fact that the laws strip away several environmental protections.
"We're in the watershed of the largest body of fresh water on the planet, Griffiths said. "We can't experiment with that we need to make sure that these projections are in place."
Areas like Ashland have experienced contamination to their waters before, most recently after pollution got out of the area from an old gas plant on Chequamegon Bay.
Mayor Whalen said that instance reminds that current decisions have a long-lasting impact.
"I would hate to have 40 years from now a mayor, a tribal chair, a couple other mayors, sitting around thinking what were those other people thinking about?" Whalen said. "We want to prevent that."
The resolutions drawn up by the local communities are on now the way to Madison.
The goal is to catch enough attention to put the bills on hold.
The Wisconsin Senate is expected to vote on the new mining bill Wednesday and the Assembly is expected to look at it sometime next week.
Passage of the bills in the GOP-controlled Senate, Assembly and Governor's office is expected.