Peshtigo Times Wisconsin Community Newspaper
space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From My Window
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Area Gridders Eager For Action
* WIAA Task Force Meets on Realignment Process
* WIAA Board Elects Officers; Votes on Action Items
* Bonus Turkey Harvest Authorizations On-Sale
* Championship Men's League at LRCC Set for Aug. 20th

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

Environmental Groups Pledge To Continue Back Forty Fight

Issue Date: June 14, 2018

Environmental groups opposed to development of the controversial Aquila Resources Back Forty Mine in Stephenson, Mich. are crying foul over last week's decision by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to approve a Wetland Permit for development of the mine near the banks of the Menominee River. Local residents opposed to the mine have pledged that their fight is not over.

In a joint statement, the Mining Action Group (MAG) of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC), the Front 40 Environmental Fight, and numerous other local and regional environmental groups say they are outraged by what they claim is an unwarranted approval and are calling on DEQ Director Heidi Grether to explain her decision.

"This smells rotten," declared spokesman Kathleen Heideman. "Director Grether's approval of the Aquila Back Forty Wetland permit was a political act, directly contradicting the recommendation of DEQ's own Water Resources Division. This permit is inconsistent with the clean Water Act!"

She and others said the Wetland permit should have been denied, according to the agency's own "Findings of Fact", and quoted, "After due consideration of the permit application, on-site investigation and review of other pertinent materials, the Water Resources Division finds that the project does NOT demonstrate that an unacceptable disruption to the aquatic resources of the State will not occur and that the activities associated with the project are NOT consistent with the permitting criteria for an acceptable impact to the resources regulated under Parts 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, and Part 303, Wetlands Protection."

Even the DEQ's decision letter is not an endorsement, they said, again quoting: "We have determined that the (Back Forty) project as proposed could not be permitted without additional supporting documentation because the hydrologic modeling provided does not define the anticipated impacts to aquatic resources."

Ron Henriksen, spokesperson for the Front 40 Environmental Fight, said he was stunned. "Against the findings of Water Resources staff, Director Grether of the DEQ granted a permit with 28 pages of "Special Conditions.' Why wasn't this permit denied? The serious hydrological concerns we've raised remain unaddressed. Aquila's mine will harm wetlands of the Menominee River and aquatic resources shared by Michigan and Wisconsin, yet these concerns were somehow overruled. The Menominee River certainly deserves better."

The news release charges that, "Overlooking the application's gaping holes, DEQ issued Aquila's Wetland permit "conditionally' and has required "submission and approval' of key additional information including revised hydrologic modeling, an adaptive management plan, a comprehensive monitoring plan, and requisite wetland and stream mitigation."

There were comments that under the Clean Water Act this information must be provided before a wetland destruction permit is granted, not after, and accurate hydrologic modeling, monitoring, and compensatory mitigation based on real data are the foundational requirements of a wetland permit application, not special permit conditions. Steve Garske of the Mining Action Group said by law, Aquila should have provided this information at least two years ago.

Opponents say the application suggests that if impact exceeds estimates the mine operators can simply pump water from the Menominee River into the wetlands.

They accused Grether of making a hasty political decision and ignoring the independent reports commissioned by anti-mine groups and repeated contentions that the Back Forty mine "is a disaster in the making."

They cited EPA objections in a March 8, 2018 letter to the Michigan DEQ: "The applicant has not provided a complete description of the project, including a final site plan identifying the final location of key project features, including storm water and waste management features. The proposed site layout is not consistent with the approved state Permit to Mine. Nor are all impacts of the project identified in the application, including impacts caused by any planned underground mining, a power plant, and mining water management systems. Without this information, the reviewing agencies cannot adequately assess the extent of the proposed mine's impact on aquatic resources as required by the CWA, and or determine whether the applicant has minimized and avoided aquatic resource impacts, as required."

They go on to say that the EPA letter pointed out that while Aquila states that the project will not adversely affect water quality of the Menominee River they do not explain how the project will be managed to ensure discharges will meet water quality standards, including sufficient monitoring locations, minimization measures, and adaptive management procedures to prevent leaching of toxic compounds from mine storage facilities and from the mine pit into the River.

The release states the EPA found the application "lacks information regarding the extent of wetlands that will be impacted by the project and how these wetlands will be affected by the proposed project's Menominee River drawdown of some 125,000 gallons per day," and directed the DEQ to resolve those and other concerns within 90 days or deny the permit for the mine, and then the permit was issued although the DEQ and Aquila did not resolve these concerns.

Garske said there is no finalized site plan or acknowledgement of planned underground mining facilities, no approved plan to prevent leaching of toxins into the Menominee River, no accurate hydrological model for the mine site, and the Back Forty wetland impacts remain unknown, and added, "The federal objections were mysteriously rescinded," and described the decision as "a stunning example of big-money politics taking precedence over the public good."

"I'd like to say I was surprised by the approval of the Back 40's wetland permit, but actually was not," said Deb Skubal of the Front 40 anti mine group. "This whole outcome is consistent with how the DEQ has operated thus far.  The Director went so far as to write "the project as proposed could not be permitted without additional supporting documentation".

Heideman described Aquila's Wetland permit as "" the most inept, shoddy heap of paperwork I've ever seen. When the permit is held up to the light of legal scrutiny, light will shine in through a thousand holes!"

"A sulfide mine on the shores of the Menominee River endangers the health and way of life of the entire region to profit a foreign owned corporation. Michigan DEQ's approval of the wetland permit an injustice to all of us," declared Raj Shukla, Executive Director of the River Alliance of Wisconsin.

"I pray for the wild rice people while I take note of the names of each and every federal and state official approving every single aspect of this 800 foot deep open pit mine less than 100 feet from the great Menominee River. Every single one of them must be held accountable when this fails and harms the fishery, the drinking water for millions of people and more. Accountability is a predominate conservative principal. They must all be held accountable in full measure," said Jeffery Loman of the L'Anse Indian Reservation.

"DEQ's approval of the wetlands permit obviously ignored the opposition to this mine by thousands of people. Why were we ignored?" asked Dick Dragiewicz, who describes himself as an avid Menominee River fisherman.

"This certainly is not the end of our opposition; it is the resurrection of government 'of the people, for the people, and by the people.'  We stand united with organizations all across the state of Wisconsin and Michigan, and we are in it for the long haul," promised Dale Burie, of Wagner, president of the Coalition to Save the Menominee River, Inc.

Carl Lindquist, Executive Director of Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust (SWP), said: "The fact that eight Native American tribes have fought this mine should have been enough. Or the fact that the Menominee River was selected as one of the ten most endangered rivers in America. Or the amount of local opposition. An open pit mine on the edge of a river that flows directly into the Great Lakes - SWP staff can't imagine a worse location."

Bob Allison, deputy director of Michigan League of Conservation Voters, said the DEQ approval "" represents yet another fundamental failure by the agency to safeguard Michigan's precious water resources. We continue to see the DEQ give preference to polluting industries, in this case allowing a mining company to make fortunes while polluting the pristine waters of the Upper Peninsula. The impact of this reckless decision will be felt for generations, with negative impacts on waterways in both Michigan and Wisconsin."


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
08-16-2018Front Page
Sauve, Dudka Win Marinette Co. Races

08-16-2018Front Page
Winsert Breaks Ground For Another Major Expansion

08-16-2018Front Page
BPM, Inc. Is Considering Wastewater Plant Options

08-16-2018Front Page
Plan Honor Caravan To Escort Wall That Heals

08-16-2018Front Page
New Floor In Peshtigo School May Be Aacer Training Project

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
Hundreds at Silver Cliff Fire and Rescue Auxiliary Parade and Picnic

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
Michael Schroeder Benefit Set at Wausaukee Sept. 8th

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
10th Annual Village of Wausaukee Fall Festival

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
Work Day for Marinette Co Fair

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Continues Plans For Wall That Heals Visit

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Wolverine PTO Donates $10,000 for Playground

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School Open House is Aug. 30

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Monthly CPR Class at Bellin, Crivitz

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Pickup Items at Pound Cemetery

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Fire Department Picnic Profit Was $7,563

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Dogleg Open Golf Fundraiser at Pound

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman 1952-58 Classes Reunion

08-16-2018Sports
Area Gridders Eager For Action

08-16-2018Sports
WIAA Task Force Meets on Realignment Process

08-16-2018Sports
WIAA Board Elects Officers; Votes on Action Items

08-16-2018Sports
Bonus Turkey Harvest Authorizations On-Sale

08-16-2018Sports
Championship Men's League at LRCC Set for Aug. 20th

08-16-2018Perspectives
From My Window

08-16-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-16-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-16-2018Obituaries
Jeffrey W. Baumler

08-16-2018Obituaries
LaVonne Brazeau

08-16-2018Obituaries
Cindy S. Cole

08-16-2018Obituaries
Brett J. Dessart

08-16-2018Obituaries
Wally Faltynski

08-16-2018Obituaries
Rodney L. Grom

08-16-2018Obituaries
Rich Hanson

08-16-2018Obituaries
Richard L. Holmes

08-16-2018Obituaries
Kristy L. Korth

08-16-2018Obituaries
Genevieve M. Kovnesky

08-16-2018Obituaries
Eleanor L. Lavalley

08-16-2018Obituaries
Arletta R. Laundre

08-16-2018Obituaries
Betty LeTendre

08-16-2018Obituaries
Leocadia M. Metzner

08-16-2018Obituaries
John E. Phillips

08-16-2018Obituaries
Sherry (Wilber) Vorpahl

08-16-2018Obituaries
Lorraine M. Washuleski

08-09-2018Front Page
Marinette National Night Out Enjoyed By Many

08-09-2018Front Page
Court Battles Continue Over Back Forty Mine

08-09-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Council Okays 3% Water Rate Increase

08-09-2018Front Page
OK Plans For Added Officer, Full Time Medical Examiner

08-09-2018Front Page
City Considers Format For Filing Complaints

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Meeting Aug. 13

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
Joint Municipal Court Lists Recent Court Activity

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
Judge Clifford Patz Attends Trial Seminar

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
James Kobus Memorial Ride Set for Sept. 29

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Seek Vietnam Veterans Names for Hall Exhibit

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Salad Luncheon

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Recipients of Grant

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Ski Cats Corn Roast Show Aug. 11

08-09-2018Community - Wausaukee
41st Annual Silver Cliff Fire Rescue Parade, Picnic Aug. 11

08-09-2018Community - Wausaukee
Concert Aug. 12 at Athelstane Church

08-09-2018Community - Wausaukee
Under the Lights Entertainment For Wausaukee Enterprises Fundraiser

08-09-2018Sports
Red Wave Battles To 2nd Place In State Tourney

08-09-2018Sports
Son Follows in Father's Footsteps, Wins DNR Trout Stamp Design Contest

08-09-2018Sports
Bonus Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorizations Available Aug 13

08-09-2018Sports
Youth Trap League Benefit Raffle Results

08-09-2018Sports
Enter Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Photo Contest

08-09-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-09-2018Perspectives
From My Window

08-09-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-09-2018Obituaries
Gloria J. Behling

08-09-2018Obituaries
William Bertrand

08-09-2018Obituaries
William L. Bristol, Jr.

08-09-2018Obituaries
Mary J. Brown

08-09-2018Obituaries
Daniel J. Eggers

08-09-2018Obituaries
Mary E. Fritz

08-09-2018Obituaries
Wesley L. Henry  

08-09-2018Obituaries
Michael Allen Hirsch

08-09-2018Obituaries
James C. Kobus

08-09-2018Obituaries
Nathaniel LaPlant

08-09-2018Obituaries
Lois Mazur Lemerand

08-09-2018Obituaries
David Grant McDowell

08-09-2018Obituaries
Doris M. Mileski-Engel

08-09-2018Obituaries
Dolores E. Monnette

08-09-2018Obituaries
Ralph E. Peterson

08-09-2018Obituaries
Joseph P. Redmann

08-09-2018Obituaries
Marvin R. Rusch

08-09-2018Obituaries
Gary J. Semrau

08-09-2018Obituaries
Martin "Punk" Techmeier

08-09-2018Obituaries
Linda J. Tessmer

08-09-2018Obituaries
Debra Tickler

08-09-2018Obituaries
Marsha Vara

08-09-2018Obituaries
Audrey M. Yetter

08-02-2018Front Page
Gov. Scott Walker Speaks At Marinette Republican Dinner

08-02-2018Front Page
District Attorney Office Is Finally Fully Staffed

08-02-2018Front Page
Marinette Council Awards REC Center Bid of $989,950

08-02-2018Front Page
Back 40 Mine Arguments In Federal Court Aug. 1

08-02-2018Front Page
National Night Out Set for Aug. 7th

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee School District Receives Safety Grant

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Historical Lists Raffle Winners

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Legion To Hold Flag Retirement

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Back To School Program Receives $3,000

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Member on Mission Trip to Antigua

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
Names Wanted for The Wall That Heals

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
20 at Even Monday Cards

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
Settler's Day Picnic Saturday

08-02-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Board To Meet Aug. 6

08-02-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman 1950 Reunion Aug. 12 at Tradewinds

08-02-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Church Plans Dedication Aug. 12

08-02-2018Sports
Plover Ends Good Marinette Post 39 Season

08-02-2018Sports
Red Wave Play in Tough UP Tourney

08-02-2018Sports
Peshtigo River Bowhunters Summer League Winners

08-02-2018Sports
Koehn Hits Ace at Little River CC

08-02-2018Sports
Little River CC Crowns Junior Club Champions

08-02-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-02-2018Perspectives
From My Window

08-02-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-02-2018Obituaries
Stella M. Alexandrowicz

08-02-2018Obituaries
Jeanette F. Baeder

08-02-2018Obituaries
Vernon T. Benning

08-02-2018Obituaries
John D. Compton

08-02-2018Obituaries
Viola E. Fedler

08-02-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth L. Roenfanz Geist

08-02-2018Obituaries
Wesley L. Henry

08-02-2018Obituaries
Claude W. Knuth

08-02-2018Obituaries
David N. Koenig

08-02-2018Obituaries
Ethel M. Larson

08-02-2018Obituaries
Peggy Madden

08-02-2018Obituaries
Neil D. McNulty

08-02-2018Obituaries
David J. McTrusty

08-02-2018Obituaries
John A. Radoll

08-02-2018Obituaries
Ardith J. Rost

08-02-2018Obituaries
Gene W. Staffeldt

08-02-2018Obituaries
William T. Scheller

08-02-2018Obituaries
Juliann M. Martin-Schroedle

08-02-2018Obituaries
Daniel J. Secor

08-02-2018Obituaries
John V. Szymanski

08-02-2018Obituaries
Martin W. Techmeier

08-02-2018Obituaries
Alice R. Warnecke

08-02-2018Obituaries
Nancy A. Welton

07-26-2018Front Page
Bay Area Medical Center Scheduled to Open Aug. 16

07-26-2018Front Page
County Board To Have Busy Session Aug. 31

07-26-2018Front Page
Alwin Resigns Job As Welcome Center Head

07-26-2018Front Page
Wagner Needs New Public Works Director

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Fire Department Lists Raffle Winners

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
R-Angels Program For School Supplies

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
Trinity Lutheran, Coleman Picnic, Service July 29

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman 1950 Reunion Aug. 12 at Tradewinds

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Ski Cats 5th at State

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Rescue Squad 9th Annual Ride July 28

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Salad Luncheon

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Loomis Historical Talk on Beekeeping

07-26-2018Community - Wausaukee
DOT Has Highway Landscapers To Replant, Mow In Wausaukee

07-26-2018Community - Wausaukee
DOT Has Highway Landscapers To Replant, Mow In Wausaukee


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
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
© 2000-2018
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites