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Bad River taking donations to fund lawsuit


MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  A northwestern Wisconsin Chippewa tribe is now raising money online to fight a proposed iron mine.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has set up a link on their tribal website allowing contributors to donate directly to the tribe. They also give an address for mailing checks. The link features a headline that reads "Help us prevent mining in the Bad River Watershed by donating today!"

The Legislature passed a law removing some steps in the permitting process earlier this month, and Governor Scott Walker signed it into law Monday, March 11th. Republicans that support mining say the iron ore can be obtained without causing irreparable damage to the environment. The Bad River Tribe and most Democrats strongly disagree. They believe pollution from the mine will contaminate their water and wild rice beds.

Gogebic Taconite plans to apply for the mining permit to dig an open-pit mine just south of the Bad River Reservation in Ashland county. With or without the new mining law, potential mines still have to meet guidelines set by the Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure steps are taken to protect the environment. Mining opponents say that’s not enough.