Urge Superior Days to Remove the Mining Lobby Issue

  • by: Kelly Westlund
  • recipient: Doug Finn, Co-Chair & Bruce Hagen, Co-Chair

      For over 25 years, the Superior Days lobbying effort has helped citizens of northwest Wisconsin connect to legislators in Madison. In the past, this has been a grassroots, non-partisan effort. Then we got "the mining bill."

The rules for choosing lobby issues require a "community-wide consensus" but in 2013, Superior Days leaders have opted to ignore the will of the people they supposedly represent in order to push an unpopular lobby issue in favor of mining legislation.

The citizens have spoken loud and clear: we will not tolerate bad legislation that jeopardizes our access to clean water, our rights as citizens, or our way of life. Superior Days should drop the mining issue because it clearly does not represent the will of the citizens of Northwest Wisconsin.


Superior Days Main Office
Douglas County Courthouse
131 Belknap Street, Room 107
Superior, WI 54880

Dear Mr. Finn & Mr. Hagen,

We, the undersigned, wish to express our concerns regarding inclusion of the mining issue submitted by the Ashland Area Development Corporation in Superior Days 2013.

For over 25 years, Superior Days has been an effective citizen-led lobby effort, trusted by legislators who know that the issues we bring forward are non-partisan and based on grassroots consensus.  The defined criteria for Superior Days issues are as follows:

1)      Issues must have major impact or unique implications for Northwest Wisconsin.

2)      Issues must have community-wide consenus.

3)      Resolution of the issue requires resources that exceed local capacity. 

We do not believe that presenting the mining issue as a consensus-based proposal is an accurate portrayal of the will of the citizens of Northwestern Wisconsin, based on the following items:

1)      The Bayfield County Board recently rejected a mining resolution with language nearly identical to the Superior Days issue on January 29, 2013.

2)      The Town of La Pointe passed a resolution on January 10, 2012 formally opposing “any mining operation that could cause irreparable and long-term damage to the future security of the Chequamegon Bay area and its freshwater heritage.”

3)      In 2011, the Ashland County Board adopted a resolution to support “responsible iron ore mining,” which a special committee on mining then voted unanimously to rescind.  

4)      The Ashland and Washburn City Councils are currently considering resolutions in opposition to a number of the provisions in the proposed mining bill (AB1/SB1).

5)      The recent listening session on mining legislation in Ashland on February 9, 2013 featured hundreds of Ashland area residents who, over 10 hours of testimony, expressed their opposition to mining in the Penokees and pending legislation by a nearly 10 to 1 margin.

Clearly, the actual consensus (if indeed, there is one) is not reflected in the issue to be put forth by Superior Days.  This is demonstrative of the very real need to reform the issue submission process to be more inclusive of the actual stakeholders in the region.  If Superior Days delegates are asked to present a united front on lobby issues, they deserve to have the opportunity to review and edit or reject each of the issues presented before the printed materials are prepared.

By taking this issue forward as written, we feel that Superior Days is doing a terrible disservice to the citizens of Northwestern Wisconsin and to the legacy of this great citizen effort.

Please remove the issue from the agenda. Thank you for your consideration. 

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