The following is an update from the River Alliance of Wisconsin on the Menominee River Back Forty mining project:
Contested Case Hearing, June 4th:
The Coalition to Save the Menominee River is challenging the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to grant the wetland permit to Aquila Resources. The case will be heard starting June 4th.
Public Hearing, June 25th:
Michigan regulators will hold a public hearing on three proposed permits for Aquila Resources’ Back Forty mine on June 25th, from 5:30-9 pm, in the Stephenson High School gymnasium in Stephenson, MI. The three permits that will be available for comment at the hearing are: a dam safety permit, an air quality permit, and an amendment to the mining permit that was granted to Aquila in December of 2016.
Yes, I am interested in attending the hearing on June, 25th.
(River Alliance will follow up with more details and suggested talking points.)
Congressman Gallagher Opposes the Back Forty
At a recent fundraiser for the Coalition to Save the Menominee, Congressman Gallagher spoke and shared his opposition to the Back Forty project and his willingness to work to stop the mine proposal.
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Appeals Court Decision
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin appealed a December decision from the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin that dismissed the Tribe’s claims against the federal government. The Tribe went to court in January of 2018 asserting that the federal government had improperly abandoned its obligation to exercise jurisdiction over Clean Water Act permitting for the mine, by allowing the State of Michigan to oversee and control what should have been a federal permitting process.
The Tribe further asserted its rights under the National Historic Preservation Act to consult on the protection of its cultural and historical sites. In December, the court rejected the Tribe’s claims on a preliminary motion by the federal agencies and the mining company and dismissed the case, disallowing full briefing and hearing of the issues.
The Risks with Tailings Dams
Dr. Al Gedicks wrote an informative article about the tailings dam that failed in Brazil and the connection to the Back Forty project. “On January 25, 2019, a 28-story high tailings dam… in southeastern Brazil failed, releasing almost 3 billion gallons of sludgy mine waste. The spill flooded nearby homes, submerging cars and buses under a river of reddish-brown sludge. The death toll so far has risen to 228…
The same design for storing mine waste, known as the upstream dam construction method, is now being proposed for a large open pit metallic sulfide mine and tailings dam next to the Menominee River on the Wisconsin-Michigan border.”
Follow these pages to stay in the loop on the proposed Back Forty Mine: