THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Menominee Commission Withholds Mine Road Action
At a special meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15, Menominee County Road Commission considered a request from Aquila Resources, Inc., to realign a portion of River Road and create a new truck route for access to their proposed Back Forty Mine. After listening to nearly an hour of objections from those opposed to the mine and the road proposals, the Commission agreed without dissent to take no action until Aquila has the necessary state and federal permits for the mine in place.
Aquila expects to submit applications before the end of the year for three of the four permits they will need from the state to construct and operate the mine.
The road projects and the proposed mine are in Lake and Holmes townships in Menominee County, Mich., very near the Menominee River. It is directly across the river from a residential/recreational subdivision on Otter Way, which is located off Squaw Creek Road in the Town of Wausaukee, Marinette County, on the Wisconsin side. One of the proposed options would bring River Road to less than 70 feet from the river in some areas, and put much of the road in an area identified as flood plain.
Cliff Nelson, vice president of operations for U.S. Aquila Resources, Inc., explained alternate proposals, one of which includes by-passing about 2,200 feet of River Road to give the company access to mineral rights they hold under the road, and stay away from all the Menominee Indian cultural sites in the area.
He suggested the company would build a main access road to the mine from Swanson Road to the Aquila property gate, and mentioned upgrading another road segment to an all-season road. He suggested three options for the main mine access road, one of which involves going through state land. Comments indicated there is no guarantee the state would give permission even if the Road Commission agreed.
Tom Boerner, a neighboring land owner, said much of the road, if the realignment were allowed, would go through flood plain areas. He had copies of FEMA flood plain maps and photos from several years ago showing water on both sides of the existing road.
Several of the approximately 50 persons present objected that trucks would be hauling explosives on a road used by various types of traffic, including school busses.
Commission Chair Anthony Kakuk declared he had received many phone calls about the project, and none were in support. He said he for one would make no decision on the River Road realignment until they know al the permits are in place. Commissioner Joe Skrobiak and Darrell Moilanen, engineer and manager of the Road Commission, agreed.