In case you missed the big news over the holidays, Aquila Resources is once again seeking permits from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for its Back Forty open pit metallic sulfide mine next to the Menominee River. The project had been suspended in July 2012 when Hudbay Minerals of Canada (51% owner of the Back Forty project) pulled out of the partnership with Aquila (49% owner of the project).
Al Gedicks will be taking part in a panel to discuss the Back 40 mining proposal. The event will take place on Tuesday, December 29, at the College of Menominee Nation. Please click HERE for more information.
The final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for PolyMet’s proposed copper-nickel sulfide mine in northeastern Minnesota was released on November 6. The FEIS can be found at the Minnesota DNR site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/polymet/feis-toc.htmlThe 30 day public review period for the 3,500 page document was originally set for December 14. No public meetings have been scheduled during the comment period. Due to public pressure, the comment period has been extended by seven days, ending on December 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm CST.
WRPC’s fundraiser was a partial success. Thanks to many generous contributors, we raised $16,000 toward our $20,000 debt from our Clean Water Act lawsuit against Rio Tinto. We still owe $4000 so if you missed our summer fundraiser, your contribution, in whatever amount, can still make a difference.
First, I want to thank you for your past support of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council’s work to ensure that mining operations do not result in unacceptable damage to our state’s environment and economy.
As you may know, something happened last year that could put a chilling effect on the ability of citizens to stand up for their water.
The Wisconsin Resources Protection Council was a plaintiff in a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Rio Tinto, one of the largest multinational mining corporations in the world.
by Al Gedicks (originally published by Z Magazine)
Two years after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a controversial Iron Mining Law designed to speed up permitting for a giant open pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills above Lake Superior, Gogebic Taconite (GTac), president Bill Williams pulled the plug on the mine because the project was not feasible. He cited the unexpected extensive wetlands at the mine site and the uncertainty about whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would veto the company’s mine plan, as the EPA had recommended in the case of the Pebble gold and copper mine in Alaska. The EPA said that mine would do irreversible damage to one of the world’s last intact salmon ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska. However, a federal judge has temporarily halted any EPA action pending further legal argument (see “Militarized Mining in Wisconsin,” Z Magazine, October 2013).
Six Wisconsin Ojibwe tribes, led by the Bad River band, asked the EPA to conduct a similar independent review of the environmental effects of GTac’s proposed mine on federally-protected treaty rights and resources before the plan is reviewed by state regulators and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But the EPA expressly stated that it would not be taking action on the GTac project as it had done in the case of the Pebble mine (“EPA disputes Gogebic fears about mine,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/7/2015).