space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Marinette Comes Away With Win Over Menominee
* Marinette JV Places 2nd in Regional Tournament
* Menominee Fights Through Tough Week
* Trip to Norway In Your Future
* Marinette Falls To Menominee; Recovers Against Double Days

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Professor Details Risks of Mine, Says "No Chance" for Back Forty

Issue Date: May 31, 2017

The elected officials originally supposed to attend a Marinette and Menominee joint city council meeting may not have shown Wednesday, May 24, but their constituents still showed up in large numbers.

Over 100 people came out to listen to a presentation regarding concerns about the proposed Back Forty Mine along the Menominee River after a joint Marinette and Menominee City Council meeting fell through.

Originally, the two councils were supposed to meet to hear Joe Maki of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) discuss the mine and answer any questions, but he and the Marinette City Council pulled out of the meeting. Only two members of the Menominee City Council attended the meeting and were able to ask questions of speaker Dr. Al Gedicks, professor emeritus of sociology at the Universtiy of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Maki was unable to be reached for comment.

Mayor Jean Stegeman and City Manager Tony Graff attended the meeting, along with City Council Members Steve Fifarek and Frank Pohlmann. Council Members Nick Malone, Heather Nelson, William Plemel, Josh Jones, Dennis Klitzke and Doug Robinson were not in attendance.

Gedicks gave a 40-minute presentation to those in attendance, during which he detailed the specifications of the mine, gave his concerns regarding it, and compared it to the Flambeau open pit copper-gold sulfide mine near Ladysmith.

The mine would be owned by Canadian company Aquila Resources, which claims it would receive 40 percent of its earnings from gold, 40 percent from zinc, 14 percent from copper, five percent from silver and one percent from lead. So far, three of the four necessary permits have been granted for the mine, including the nonferrous metallic mineral mining permit, the air use permit to install and the pollutant discharge and elimination system permit (NPDES). The final permit needed is a permit regarding the area wetlands.

Gedicks claimed that metallic sulfide mining has contaminated 12,000 miles of rivers and streams in the United States. He also mentioned that in April, American Rivers, a conservation group, listed the Menominee River as one of America's most endangered rivers due to the potential of the mine.

Gedicks said that Aquila has been touting the mine as a seven-year project, but has been telling investors the project will be for 16 years. Aquila Resources CEO Barry Hildred responded to this, saying the mine would be in use for seven to eight years, with the mine taking two years to construct.

Hildred said the company has intentions of further drilling the underground to do more work on underground resources and potentially transitioning to an underground mine in the future, however. This change would require an additional permit amendment with the MDEQ. Construction would not start until "well into next year," Hildred said.

Following Gedicks' presentation, he received a full standing ovation from the crowd for about 40 seconds, before making way to questions from council members.

After the meeting, both council members in attendance said they were opposed to the mine. "I'm just doing what I believe in my own heart. I wasn't for this from the start" I grew up here. I retired out of the service and I came back here" I don't want a chance, or a threat of any chance of destroying my homeland," Fifarek said. When asked if the council even had any say in whether the mine moves forward, Fifarek wasn't sure, responding "I would like to think so."

"I think that from the get-go, the risks of the project are significant and the gains of the project, which are mainly financial gains for the investors, will not really impact our local community," Pohlmann said, adding that every businessman needs to weigh risks against rewards when making a decision. "This potential reward is very small for the local community. The jobs will be temporary and probably occupied by specialists who are not living in the community right now, the burden on our infrastructure will be significant and the ultimate risk" will be significant. Just as a businessperson, I would clearly have to say with huge risks and small reward, I can't support the project.

Pohlmann asked Gedicks after the meeting about the potential job creation by the project. Gedicks responded, saying that the jobs needing to be filled would be "highly skilled" and he thought they would be filled by workers coming from Marquette, Mi.

Pohlmann also said he thought every council member should have been at the meeting. "I think all the council members should attend city council meetings, because regardless of whether they are in favor or opposition, because we are basically elected to address issues that concern the public"I think every council member should be at these meetings," Pohlmann said, referencing the large crowd in attendance, as opposed to an estimated 20 people who attend the average council meeting.

"I have been to meetings where Aquila resources presented when they had their first introduction of the project. Everybody should be at meetings of this nature," Pohlmann said.

"I would hope that in the future, they don't boycott every council meeting, because that'll be hard to get things done in the City of Menominee," Mayor Stegeman said.

A total of 26 people used their three allotted minutes of public comment to address concerns with the mine, including issues with potential impacts on the environment, Menominee River, drinking water for area residents and Menominee Nation sacred lands.

Some opposed to the meeting passed out signs saying "NO MINE," while others gave pins and brochures detailing their opposition the mine.

One speaker during the public commentary period was Marinette City Alderman and Marinette County Supervisor Ken Keller, who, as a member of the county board, passed a unanimous resolution in opposition to the mine, 28-0.

Keller said that everyone should be grateful to the Menominee Nation members who attended the meeting and opposed the mine. "They've put on many miles and spent many hours in regards to this," he stated. "Their dedication to this is overwhelming."

Keller ended his address by thanking the council in attendance and saying "I do believe Marinette will be addressing this issue."

Representatives from the Menominee Nation Tribe spoke. The Menominee Nation has made a Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act Claim.

Gary Besaw, Menominee Tribal Chairman was granted the first word at the beginning of the public comment period. Besaw thanked the members of the council and the mayor "for having the intelligence and the wisdom to ask for information." He continued, saying "You need to hear all sides. You need to hear all the information and show us that you care, that you're trying to find that for the constituents. You're looking ahead to the future. I applaud you for that, and the Menominee Tribe applauds you for that."

Besaw asked the council if he could be put on a future agenda to address the full council. "You have a pearl sitting up along that river. Nobody has those. You need to help protect those," Besaw said about the burial grounds along the river. "In our creation stories, we're also told we're to protect the wild rice, the sturgeon, those maple trees, the waters. We have a responsibility to those animals and plants. It's not fake. It's what we live. It's not pretend. It's real."

Stegeman said that having Besaw on the next city council meeting was "absolutely" a possibility.

Burton Warrington, who was born and raised on the Menominee reservation and is an attorney by trade with a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law and a present Governor of the Kansas School of Law Alumni Board of Governors, told the crowd to think about who is telling them that opposition to the mine won't matter.

He told them, "you have to ask yourself, "who's saying that?' Somebody wants you to believe that, to silence you" It's in the law that you have a say-so on that."

"We're in no position to tell people to be against the mine, but what we encourage people to do is learn yourself and if you end up making the decision that you're for the mine, that's fine," Warrington said. "That's everybody's right to make that decision, but we're fairly confident that once people get the real the information, most people will take the side that the reward isn't worth the risk."

Aquila began talking to the Menominee and other Native American groups in 2009, Hildred said, although he admitted the Menominee Nation had not supported the project. "We've had continued correspondence with them" We've shown them where cultural resources are or potential resources are, and they are not impacted by the project at all," he said.

When asked about the chances of the mine making it to reality, Gedicks offered some hope for those opposed to the mine. "There's no chance this is going to go through. When you have overwhelming public opposition to a project, investors are going to be very careful about risking their finances on projects that are going to be challenged in court, for which there are going to be demonstrations, protests, lawsuits," Gedicks said. "Even if the lawsuits don't succeed, if they extend the challenge to the permit process, that costs the investors a lot of money and that's not something they want to risk."

"What we're doing is legal," Hildred said. "Michigan is probably, if you look worldwide, it's one of the strictest mining laws in the world, in terms of environmental protections under which you have to operate. What we're doing is a legal activity."

Gedicks said that while the MDEQ may issue all the permits for the mine, "that does not mean it's going to be built."

Hildred responded to claims that the mine had little support, saying, "we do have a lot of support as well" We certainly understand there are some concerns. We'd like to address those concerns as best as we can. The way to address those concerns is to engage in constructive dialogue and help educate people about what we're doing."

Aquila Resources and multiple joint venture partners have invested over $75 million exploring and advancing the Back Forty Project over the past 10 years, according to the company's website. Hildred said it would cost an estimated $300 million in additional capital to build the mine.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
07-18-2019


07-18-2019Front Page
BPM Inc. Going Forward With Plans For Wastewater Plant

07-18-2019Front Page
Peshtigo School Board Accepts Resignations and Donations

07-18-2019Front Page
Gun Range Safety Topic Town of Peshtigo Board

07-18-2019Front Page
Man Killed in ATV Crash Near Walsh

07-18-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Fire Department Annual Picnic July 27th

07-18-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee School Enrolls 89 in Summer School

07-18-2019Community - Wausaukee
Bellin, Menominee Rec Family Night

07-18-2019Community - Wausaukee
Town of Pembine Approves 6 Permits

07-18-2019Community - Crivitz
Annual Ride for Rescue at Crivitz

07-18-2019Community - Crivitz
17 at Even Monday Cards

07-18-2019Community - Crivitz
Pie/Ice Cream Social, Brat Fry in Suring July 21

07-18-2019Community - Crivitz
Herlache First Lady Townsend Fire Chief

07-18-2019Community - Coleman
CCBA Sell-A-Bration in Coleman Sept. 21

07-18-2019Community - Coleman
Behnke Family Reunion Meet Aug. 3

07-18-2019Community - Coleman
Toy Pedal Tractors

07-18-2019Community - Coleman
Little River Fire Dept. Fundraiser Successful

07-18-2019Sports
Marinette Comes Away With Win Over Menominee

07-18-2019Sports
Marinette JV Places 2nd in Regional Tournament

07-18-2019Sports
Menominee Fights Through Tough Week

07-18-2019Sports
Trip to Norway In Your Future

07-18-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

07-18-2019Perspectives
From My Window

07-18-2019Obituaries
Lillian R. Ailport

07-18-2019Obituaries
Betty J. Behnke

07-18-2019Obituaries
Valerie J. Anderson

07-18-2019Obituaries
Vincent Bahl

07-18-2019Obituaries
Ron Bedora

07-18-2019Obituaries
Marion L. DeVoe

07-18-2019Obituaries
Bill P. Doyen

07-18-2019Obituaries
Homer W. Dunkes

07-18-2019Obituaries
Phyllis A. Foster

07-18-2019Obituaries
Christine C. Ermis

07-18-2019Obituaries
John E. Hansen

07-18-2019Obituaries
Marilu Joslin

07-18-2019Obituaries
Robert A. Konopka

07-18-2019Obituaries
Jeffrey S. Kososki

07-18-2019Obituaries
Dorothy L. McCorkle

07-18-2019Obituaries
Raymond L. Mier

07-18-2019Obituaries
Paul J. Nelson

07-18-2019Obituaries
Elaine A. Powell

07-18-2019Obituaries
Betsy E. Roetzer

07-18-2019Obituaries
Scott R. Rupert

07-18-2019Obituaries
Evelyn L. Stuart

07-18-2019Obituaries
Mary L. Svinicki

07-18-2019Obituaries
Valentine S. Swiatnicki

07-18-2019Obituaries
Doris G. Van Domelen

07-11-2019Front Page
Crivitz Food Pantry Golf Outing Raises $10,000

07-11-2019Front Page
County May Ask Legislators For Help With DNR Permits

07-11-2019Front Page
No Grass Clippings In Peshtigo Streets

07-11-2019Front Page
Marinette Council Refers Dog Issue Back To Parks

07-11-2019Front Page
Green Bay Man Drowns After Falling From Raft

07-11-2019Community - Wausaukee
Town of Stephenson Discusses Plowing Private Road Issue

07-11-2019Community - Wausaukee
2nd Installment Taxes Due by July 31st

07-11-2019Community - Wausaukee
Thank You To Veterans"From The Village of Wausaukee

07-11-2019Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Fireman's Picnic, Parade July 13

07-11-2019Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Woman's Club Gives Over $20,000

07-11-2019Community - Crivitz
Area Students Write Essays for Scholarship

07-11-2019Community - Crivitz
Caregiver Connection Support Group July 22

07-11-2019Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Class of ඒ To Meet Sept. 21st

07-11-2019Community - Coleman
Grant Helps Lena Club Showcase Off-Road Racing

07-11-2019Community - Coleman
CCBA Sell-A-Bration in Coleman Sept. 21

07-11-2019Community - Coleman
Gillett's Club 22/32 Offers U-Haul Products

07-11-2019Community - Coleman
Coleman ൳-'65 Reunion July 14

07-11-2019Sports
Marinette Falls To Menominee; Recovers Against Double Days

07-11-2019Sports
Sauter Claims First at Norway Speedway

07-11-2019Sports
Redbirds Secure Hard Fought Win Over Cecil

07-11-2019Sports
Marinette Wins Old-Timers Game Over Menominee

07-11-2019Perspectives
From Our Readers

07-11-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

07-11-2019Perspectives
From My Window

07-11-2019Obituaries
Jeff M. Bersch

07-11-2019Obituaries
Mary L. Chernetski

07-11-2019Obituaries
Kenneth W. Enderby

07-11-2019Obituaries
Brian J. Fournier

07-11-2019Obituaries
Nancy M. Grandaw

07-11-2019Obituaries
Lois Hudson

07-11-2019Obituaries
Alice H. Johnson

07-11-2019Obituaries
Suzanne M. Kuran

07-11-2019Obituaries
Jerry I. Marquardt

07-11-2019Obituaries
Ardyth M. McDonald

07-11-2019Obituaries
Robert D. Miller

07-11-2019Obituaries
Raymond Millette

07-11-2019Obituaries
Arlene A. Mitchell

07-11-2019Obituaries
Dorothy M. Moen

07-11-2019Obituaries
Norbert A. Novitski

07-11-2019Obituaries
Helen G. Zeitler

07-11-2019Obituaries
Russell H. Walters

07-11-2019Obituaries
Shirley A. Younk

07-03-2019Front Page
Peshtigo Gets Results Of PFAS/PFOS Sludge Tests

07-03-2019Front Page
City Committee Discusses Drones, Vaping Concerns

07-03-2019Front Page
Marinette County Breakfast On The Farm Serves Over 4,300

07-03-2019Front Page
Chief Judge James Morrison to Chair Committee of Chief Judges

07-03-2019Community - Crivitz
Nine Members at Auxiliary Meet

07-03-2019Community - Crivitz
3rd Annual PTSD Run a Success

07-03-2019Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Rummage Sale Aug. 8-10

07-03-2019Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Rescue Offers Suicide Awareness

07-03-2019Community - Coleman
Pound Fire Department Fundraiser A Success

07-03-2019Community - Coleman
Golf Scramble July 26 To Benefit New Beginnings

07-03-2019Community - Coleman
Yoga on Beach at Oconto Falls

07-03-2019Community - Coleman
Lena Announces Lunch Price Hike

07-03-2019Sports
Menominee Ends Six-Year M&M Baseball Skid; Defeats Marinette in Shootout 16-15

07-03-2019Sports
Track & Field/Cross Country Rule Changes Recommended

07-03-2019Sports
Peshtigo Youth Track & Field Program is a Huge Success

07-03-2019Sports
Expanded Designated Hitter Role Coming to High School Baseball

07-03-2019Perspectives
From Our Readers

07-03-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

07-03-2019Perspectives
From My Window

07-03-2019Obituaries
Jonathan A. Bruso

07-03-2019Obituaries
Robert Chrusniak

07-03-2019Obituaries
Irene A. Kaptena

07-03-2019Obituaries
Suzanne M. Kuran

07-03-2019Obituaries
Lynne A. Mainik

07-03-2019Obituaries
Ellis E. Mercier

07-03-2019Obituaries
Wallace R. Olson

07-03-2019Obituaries
Diane M. Pawlak

07-03-2019Obituaries
Robert C. Purvayn

07-03-2019Obituaries
George Schussler

07-03-2019Obituaries
Mary L. Tenarvitz

07-03-2019Obituaries
Kathleen Thoune

07-03-2019Obituaries
Deanna L. Zempel

06-27-2019Front Page


06-27-2019Front Page
Marinette County Breakfast on the Farm is June 30th

06-27-2019Front Page
County Selects Architect For Ella Court Renovation

06-27-2019Front Page
McClintock Park Murder Suspect To Face Trial

06-27-2019Front Page
Thompson Classic Boat Event Saturday

06-27-2019Community - Wausaukee
Urgent Need for Area Blood Donors

06-27-2019Community - Wausaukee
Amberg Historical Seeks Museum Help

06-27-2019Community - Wausaukee
Beecher Okays ATV Access From L to 141

06-27-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Farmers Market Starts July 3

06-27-2019Community - Crivitz
Sand Lake Conservation Camp a Success in Marinette County

06-27-2019Community - Crivitz
Lea Schneider Receives Edward Jones Award

06-27-2019Community - Crivitz
Schlenvoght is Parade Marshal

06-27-2019Community - Crivitz
Niagara Lions Community Picnic Set for June 28-29

06-27-2019Community - Coleman
Golden Agers Card Club Results

06-27-2019Community - Coleman
OF Senior Card Club Results

06-27-2019Community - Coleman
LCS 17 Completes Acceptance Trials

06-27-2019Community - Coleman
Coleman ൳-'65 Reunion July 14

06-27-2019Sports
Post 139 Takes 2nd at Escanaba Tourney

06-27-2019Sports
Jacobson Youth Fishing Tourney Held in Peshtigo

06-27-2019Sports
Red Wave Has Fantastic Week Of Legion Baseball

06-27-2019Sports
Webster, Stratford, Antigo, Eau Claire North Win State Baseball Titles

06-27-2019Perspectives
From Our Readers

06-27-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

06-27-2019Perspectives
From My Window

06-27-2019Obituaries
Thomas E. Behnke

06-27-2019Obituaries
Michael J. Bellisle

06-27-2019Obituaries
Alex Betzinger

06-27-2019Obituaries
Mary A. Domnick

06-27-2019Obituaries
Howard J. De Lorme Sr.


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Did you attend any firework shows over the Fourth of July?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2019
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites