Written by: Dolly Potts, POSOH Sustainability Planner Intern
The thunder beings woke me the morning of the water walk. I met with my mentor and an SLC student at SDI to begin our journey to the mouth of the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin. We headed north watching the lightning ahead of us rolling out of the area bringing the sunrise of the day.
As a woman, I would have the honor of carrying water from the Menominee River to the proposed Back 40 mine site. The men would carry the staffs. One of the men brought water from the Cannonball River in North Dakota, the site of the Standing Rock Sioux water protectors. Around 40 people represented our group of walkers.
After the water ceremony and instructions for the relay, we started off crossing the Menominee River into Michigan. We carried the many prayers and blessings that the Back 40 Mine would not harm the waters or disturb the remains of the Menominee ancestors.
The route followed the beautiful Menominee River and passed along homes of residents of the area. Many came out to support us and offer encouragement to our opposition. The residents do not want the pollution and destruction of the Back 40 mine to ruin the beautiful river.
The walk lasted all day with stops for rest, water and snacks. The women and men traded off the water and staffs and the fourth grade class from Menominee Tribal School joined us mid-day. As the sunset drew near, we had to stop our walk, covering only half the miles to the mine site. Although we did not complete the entire distance, everyone who participated carried away the goodness and satisfaction of our efforts.
In regards to the Back 40 Mine opposition, there are some very important dates to remember. We are asking people to submit comments on the permits that are open for public comment. Please see the deadlines and locations to enter comments below.
October 6, 2016 – 6:00 p.m. – Public Hearing at Stephenson High School, W526 Division Street, Stephenson, Michigan 49887 on the Mine Permit, Air Permit, NPDES permit and Wetland permits.
November 3, 2016 – 5:00 p.m. is the deadline for anyone wishing to enter written comments on the Mine Permit, Air Permit, NPDES permit and Wetland Permit. Submit written comments by mail to MDEQ Back Forty Comments, Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI 49885 or electronically at DEQ-Mining-Comments@micigan.gov
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will render a final decision on the Mine Permit, Wetland permit, National Pollutant Discharge System permit, and Air Permit on or before December 1, 2016.