TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) — Next Tuesday, Toledo residents will have the opportunity to vote whether or not to give Lake Erie a Bill of Rights.
After being added to the ballot in December, talks of the issue have intensified during February.
Recent advertisements, declared to be funded by the group "Toledo Jobs and Growth Coalition," have called the proposal "anti-job" and say it's being run by "out of state extremists."
"It was disappointing to hear it for sure. Now, it's added another layer for us to respond to. I think we were just waiting for it to happen. We didn't know if it would happen before or after the election, though," said Toledoans for Safe Water Organizer, Markie Miller.
In response, Toledoans for Safe Water and Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie hosted a presentation to debunk what is being said about their groups.
They feel the ads are using fear-mongering to get the opposing message across.
"They're egregious. They're full of lies. There isn't a single fact in any of it that's true," said Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie's Sam Wright.
"They are putting human resources into it. They must be spending an absolute fortune to get this issue not to pass," added Toledo resident, Marilyn Bernstein.
The Lake Erie Bill of Rights did not travel a smooth path to get on the ballot, either.
It received more than 10 thousand signatures and the group sat in twice with the Lucas County Board of Elections before the issue was added to the vote on February 26th.
Despite the recent negativity, the groups remain hopeful for next week.
"I feel like we've done everything that we can physically and financially do. We've put all of our effort into this," stated Miller.
If the proposal passes, the city charter would be amended and Lake Erie would have similar rights as any person. People the could sue polluters of the body of water.