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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From our readers

Issue Date: May 13, 2020

Dear Editor:

The Eye of the Storm is where you and I, with 7 billion other people, find ourselves in this earth-shaking and challenging hurricane. It is a storm that pits healthy lives against livelihoods. A catastrophic whirlwind that has us huddled in two camps.

In camp one, we find those of us that have time to disinfect our homes daily.  Our brass doorknobs now silver from the rubbing.  We're tasked with in-home childcare and have a growing appreciation for teachers. We're striving to prove that working from home is not an oxymoron. We are sheltered, idle, and worried in anticipation of what comes next.  

In the other camp, we find ourselves feeling emotional and exhausted from being deemed "Essential." We don't have time to bake bread. Our only choice is to keep trudging.  Ever mindful that our duty poses an essential risk to ourselves and the lives of our families.

If this storm's eye were the size of a football field, we are on the 50-yard line.  We're at the halfway point. Now is the time to decide what to do. What are our options?

We could close our eyes and see what happens. But chance can be a cruel mistress. Just ask the captain of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Or we can seize this rare opportunity. History proves that when we have the odds stacked against us, people pull together.  Faced with a challenge, we will find the courage, the resources, creativity, and the put-a-man-on-the-moon innovation necessary for a breakthrough.

We have this precious moment to assess our choices. With the gift of bright blue clarity, we can choose to focus on what is valuable to others and priceless to us.  Now that I have to slow down, I'm weighing how to create a more manageable life vs. going back into the rat race.

 We can Lighten our load for the journey.  Does it still make sense to have all three kids enrolled in different age groups of extra circular activities between hockey, soccer, baseball, swimming, volleyball, and jujitsu?

 Choose what matters most.  I now realize what I was missing without regular household meals around the table. We can tune our compass to travel a better path. 

 What are your possibilities for creating something better?

 Let's act to meet the rest of this storm with the courage that comes with faith and hope.  

Keith Killen,

Marinette





Dear Editor,

Thanks to a major pollution cleanup effort by multiple federal and state agencies and citizen groups, the Lower Menominee River will be "delisted" or removed as an "Area of Concern" for pollution and habitat loss. This restoration work took more than two decades and cost at least $200 million, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 The delisting of the Lower Menominee River was announced at the same time that American Rivers, a national conservation group, named the Menominee River one of the ten most endangered rivers in America, citing the threat from Aquila Resources' proposed metallic sulfide mine on the banks of the river. This is the second time in four years that the river has made the endangered list. Why spend so much time and money into cleaning up pollution in the Lower Menominee River only to allow potential toxic discharges from the proposed Back Forty mine into the headwaters of the river?

 American Rivers, along with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, have called on Michigan's Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) agency to deny the tailings dam safety permit for the Back Forty project because the proposed dam, containing large amounts of toxic mine waste,  threatens the Menominee River, the Menominee Tribe's sacred sites and the drinking water of communities in Marinette, Wisconsin and Menominee, Michigan.

 Aquila withdrew its original dam safety permit application because of insufficient information in December 2019, but said it plans to re-submit its application in the spring of 2020. Aquila plans to use the risky upstream dam construction " the same method now banned in Brazil due to the 2019 dam collapse that killed over 270 people and flooded the countryside with toxic waste.

 In addition to the inherent instability of upstream tailings dams, opposition groups have criticized EGLE for its failure to require that Aquila disclose its stated plans for an underground mine after the open pit phase of the project. Without this information, it is impossible to evaluate the impact of additional mine waste being dumped into a tailings dam that was not designed to handle mine waste from an underground mine.

 The Minnesota Court of Appeals has recently rejected a permit for PolyMet Mining Corp.'s proposed sulfide mine because the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency failed to address evidence that the company was planning a mine nearly four times larger than the operation covered by the permit. Michigan regulators should be held accountable if they fail to take Aquila's mine expansion plans into account when they evaluate the dam safety permit application. (432)

Respectfully,

Dr. Al Gedicks

Executive Secretary,

Wisconsin Resources Protection Council


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