Photo credit: Jeff Vele, Mohican News
On the evening of January 23, the Stevenson gymnasium was filled with people hoping to voice their opposition to the Back Forty Mine Project. The open pit metallic sulfide mine, proposed by the Canadian mining exploration company, Aquila Resources Inc., would be located just 150 feet from the banks of the Menominee River in Lake Township, Michigan. The company hopes to obtain copper, gold, zinc, silver and other minerals from a pit 750 feet deep.
During the public hearing held by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), nearly 90 individuals had a chance to address the MDEQ to voice their views regarding the wetland permit application, the last permit needed by Aquila Resources Inc. before moving forward with the project. Of the individuals who spoke, only four were in favor of the proposed mine.
The first speaker of the night was Menominee Tribal Chairman, Gary Besaw, who informed the MDEQ, that “The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Tribe asserts that the agencies have failed to take primary responsibility for a wetland permit that is key to the future of the controversial Back Forty Mine proposal.”
Chairman Besaw was followed at the podium by Tribal leaders and Tribal representatives from Wisconsin who stand in solidarity with the Menominee who oppose the mine. Ada Deer, a well-known Menominee advocate told the MDEQ, “Wetlands are the kidneys of the Great Lakes” as she spoke in opposition. In addition to Tribal representation, many local residents spoke out against the mine as did environmentalists and educators from across the state.
The public comment period is open until February 2, 2018. Comments will continue to be accepted in writing or online submitted to the address or website below.
MiWaters public comment site – http://bit.ly/2nquJb6
Michigan DEQ, Upper Peninsula District Office WRD, 1507 W. Washington Street Marquette, MI 49855