Mining Action Group | The Mining Action Group is a volunteer, grassroots effort to defend the clean

Web Name: Mining Action Group | The Mining Action Group is a volunteer, grassroots effort to defend the clean






Mining Action Group | The Mining Action Group is a volunteer, grassroots effort to defend the clean water and wild places of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from the dangers of sulfide mining previously known as Save the Wild U.P. Marquette, MI — Regional environmentalists are expressing outrage and disappointment following news that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced the final approval for two of four major permits Aquila Resources Inc. (Aquila) needs for its proposed Back Continue reading Welcome and thank you for your interest in our Sing The Wild U.P. songwriting competition! Sing The Wild UP is a video submission based songwriting competition sponsored by The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition/The Mining Action Group. Songs must be inspired by Continue reading Save the Wild U.P. would like to extend a hearty THANK YOU to all of our friends, allies and activists who came to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s public hearing on the proposed Back Forty project on October 5th. Continue reading ACTION ALERT! We need your voices of opposition on October 6th! The public hearing for the Back Forty project is fast approaching! It will be held at Stephenson High School on October 6, 2016 from 6pm to 10pm CST in Continue reading NEW ERA OF COLLABORATION AS UPEC AND SWUP COMBINE FORCES Marquette The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) and Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) are joining forces to create a far-reaching, inclusive environmental advocacy group for the Upper Peninsula. Effective Continue reading Citizen opposition to the Aquila Back Forty project is growing – ADD YOUR VOICE! Please take a moment to let Michigan s elected officials know that you oppose the Back Forty open pit sulfide mine, proposed for the bank of the Continue reading MARQUETTE – Grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) has announced that they will be asking Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to reject Aquila’s Back Forty mine permit application. SWUP is raising alarming questions about false or contradictory Continue reading MARQUETTE – In November, Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) learned that Aquila Resources (Aquila) submitted a mine permit application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for their “Back Forty Project” (“Back 40” in some sources, including MDEQ’s website). Aquila Continue reading As published in the Minnesota StarTribune: When talking PolyMet, don t be fooled by Michigan s Eagle Mine You call this a good example of environmental protection?  Hardly. This facility poses threats to the surrounding air, water and land.  ___________________________ Dear Gov. Continue reading MARQUETTE— Grassroots environmental group, Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) will hold their Winter Gala at the Steinhaus Market on Saturday, December 5th, from 6pm to 9pm. SWUP kicks off their 12th year of environmental advocacy by hosting an evening filled Continue reading FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Save the Wild U.P. Announces Calendar of Wild Summer Events Marquette — Grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) has announced a series of “wild events” for the coming summer. Save the Wild U.P.’s guided outdoor Continue reading FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Unified Opposition to Graymont ‘Land Transaction’ MARQUETTE — Tribal officials, clergy, local residents and leading environmental organizations of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have joined forces to deliver a letter to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Continue reading By Jessica Koski* Proposed Marquette County Road 595 would irreversibly impact high quality wetlands at the headwaters of several watersheds and foreseeably lead to additional roads that would open up one of Michigan s last remaining wilderness areas to resource exploitation. Continue reading Concerned citizens from across the U.P., residents of Humboldt township, members of the grassroots organization Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP), members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), and others gathered at the Westwood High School in Ishpeming on Tuesday Continue reading Published in the Mining Journal, November 12, 2014. To the Journal editor: So the Eagle Mine has set its eyes on 40 more acres of state land on the Yellow Dog Plains (Oct. 30 article by John Pepin), for geological Continue reading MARQUETTE – The Eagle Mine LLC, currently owned by international mining conglomerate Lundin Mining, is seeking a new mineral lease from the State of Michigan for 40 acres of land (NE 1/4 SE 1/4, Section 13, T50N, R29W, Michigamme Township, Continue reading View CR 595 – Under Construction? in a larger map CHAMPION – Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) has released over 300 geotagged photos of bulldozing and road construction along the previously-defeated CR 595 route which was proposed as a direct Continue reading The following is SWUP President Kathleen Heideman s letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality concerning the proposed Groundwater Discharge Permit at the Eagle project.   Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Permits Section Water Resources Division DEQ Box 30458 Lansing, MI Continue reading The rush is on for the copper, silver, nickel, and other hardrock minerals of the Lake Superior region, and especially Michigan s Upper Peninsula. One of the latest arrivals to the UP is the recently-formed Highland Copper Company, Inc. This month geologist and Highland Vice President for Exploration, Dr. Ross Grunwald, has Continue reading When in January, 2013 the Mining Journal headline proclaimed “CR 595 Project Killed,” many opponents were skeptical that this was the last we would hear about it. CR 595 in all its incarnations is like a zombie. It seems dead, Continue reading Looks like Lundin Mining inherited a transportation route mess from Rio Tinto when it bought the Eagle Mine located 30 miles north of Marquette. The Marquette County Road Commission (MCRC) is considering a plan to use eminent domain to seize Continue reading April 5, 2013 MARQUETTE Testing by Rio Tinto and the Superior Watershed Partnership has confirmed the presence of uranium in water samples from the bottom of a rock storage area at the Eagle Mine, which exceeds the federal maximum Continue reading MARQUETTE, MI – Regional environmental groups are celebrating the news that a disputed Wetlands Permit for Aquila Resources’ Back Forty sulfide mine has been denied by a Michigan Administrative Law Judge, concluding a two year review of the contested case. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (now the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) sparked controversy when it approved Aquila’s Wetlands Permit in 2018, over the objections of regulatory staff who were prepared to deny the permit.The permit was contested by multiple petitioners, including an adjacent landowner, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, represented by Earthjustice attorneys, and the grassroots Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River. According to Earthjustice attorney Janette Brimmer, Aquila “refused to provide all of the information the state needed to determine the full environmental impacts the mine will have on the Menominee River and the surrounding area.”AQUILA BACK FORTY PROJECT OVERVIEW The Back Forty project proposes to excavate an enormous 84 acre open-pit mine, 800 foot deep, on the banks of the Menominee River, 150 feet from the water. The mine site would be approximately 1100 acres in size, of which 280-300 acres is public land, part of the Escanaba State Forest. Most of the mine site would be covered by waste rock, ore storage, milling facilities and tailings storage. Nearly all of the Back Forty rock is reactive – capable of producing Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) when exposed to air and water. AMD pollution devastates watersheds and lasts hundreds of years. Tailings and waste rock will be stored on-site during mining; tailings waste will remain on the surface forever. During closure, the open pit mine will be backfilled with waste material. Once this takes place, groundwater contaminated with AMD is predicted to seep into the river. Environmental groups claim that the Back Forty’s environmental impacts could be significantly reduced by using feasible, common-sense alternatives.Local wetlands data (State of Michigan Wetlands Map Viewer, 2021) combined with Back Forty site diagram (Aquila Resources, 2018). Direct and indirect wetland impacts extend beyond the project boundary to adjacent wetland complexes, and the Menominee River.BACK FORTY WETLANDS PERMIT DISPUTEThe permit would have allowed Aquila Resources to destroy  wetlands of the Menominee River watershed in order to construct and operate an open-pit sulfide mine, waste storage dam, and mill. Wetland impacts included direct and indirect losses due to excavation, placing of fill, or building parts of the facility on top of wetlands, removing groundwater, permanently changing hydrology, impairing wetland ecosystems, and contaminating the surrounding watershed with toxic dust from mining operations, and acid-mine drainage.FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAWJudge Pulter’s decision makes it clear that Aquila Resources’ application was not simply flawed, but incompetent:“In many cases addressing feasible and prudent alternatives, the applicant’s initial site plan has the most impact to the resource. During the processing of the application, it is common for the applicant to reduce the amount of wetland impacts sought in its original site plan. ( ) In this case, however, the amount of wetland impacts increased with each modification of Aquila’s site plan. Aquila did not proffer evidence of how it had re-designed its site plans with a view toward reducing wetland impacts. ( ) Because it considered three site plans, each of which increased in wetland impacts, the record does not contain evidence of feasible and prudent alternative locations and methods. Therefore, I find, as a Matter of Fact, that Aquila failed to demonstrate that there are no feasible and prudent alternative locations or methods.”Wetlands are strictly protected under state and federal law. Before wetlands can be destroyed, Aquila must demonstrate that the impacts are unavoidable. The applicant failed that test, and so Judge Pulter concluded that Aquila’s Wetland Permit must be denied:“Aquila failed to demonstrate that there are no feasible and prudent alternative locations and methods because it did not proffer evidence of how it had re-designed its site plans with a view toward reducing wetland impacts.” “The proposed project will have a probable negative effect on historic, cultural, scenic, and ecological values.” “The proposed project is not in the public interest.”“Aquila failed to demonstrate that the disruption to the aquatic resources caused by proposed activity will be acceptable.” “The proposed activity is not wetland dependent.” “Aquila failed to demonstrate that a feasible and prudent alternative does not exist.” “Therefore, Aquila is not entitled to a permit in this case. MEDIA STATEMENTSDale Burie, president of the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River:According to Davis Kuelthau attorney Ted A. Warpinski, who represented the Coalition, “Judge Pulter issued a thorough and thoughtful decision recognizing the many flaws with Aquila’s wetlands permit application and rejecting the attempt by EGLE to correct those flaws with improper permit conditions. We are grateful for the cooperative efforts of the Earthjustice attorneys representing the Menominee Tribe as well as the diligent efforts of Mr. Boerner who joined us in challenging this wetland permit.”  We encourage Aquila to accept that this is simply not a suitable location for a mining operation.Al Gedicks, executive secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council:Judge Pulter’s careful consideration of the scientific testimony in the contested wetlands case reveals a consistent pattern of Aquila’s manipulation of scientific research to conceal significant negative impacts to wetlands from the proposed Back Forty mine. Ms. Kristi Wilson, an environmental quality specialist  from EGLE’s Water Resources Division (WRD) testified that Aquila failed to provide information requested by the WRD regarding dewatering of the open pit and its effects on wetlands within the project area. Without this information the WRD could not evaluate the impact to wetlands. Mr. Eric Chatterson, a geology specialist from the WRD, testified that Aquila “predetermined what was going to happen and it just manipulated the mathematics to make that happen.” The end result was a fraudulent application that prevented the public from recognizing the full extent of the harm to wetlands from this project. Aquila’s conduct in this case is ethically reprehensible.Guy Reiter, executive director of Menikanaehkem:Menikanaehkem applauds Judge Pulter s decision, in denying this wetland permit. Menikanaehkem has always been a strong defender of our beautiful Menominee river and our vast Menominee cultural resources located around the river.Ron Henriksen, spokesperson for the Front 40 Environmental Fight:We are so appreciative of the hard work by individuals, tribes, and environmental organizations which helped the judge reach this important decision.  Front 40 Environmental Fight was founded in 2003 to help defend the Menominee River and Shakey Lakes from the hazards of sulfide mining; for the past 17 years, we have informed the public about the dangers of sulfide mining through education and outreach — and the community responded overwhelmingly, rejecting Aquila’s dangerous Back Forty mine! We thank everyone who is working to protect our wetlands, and the Menominee River.Kathleen Heideman, member of the Mining Action Group:This decision is a thoughtful, clear-eyed rebuke of Aquila Resources. Aquila’s approach to permiting the Back Forty project has been hasty and incompetent, and reveals a disregard for Michigan’s natural resources. The decision demonstrates that the Wetland Permit was subject to denial for dozens of reasons — critical data was never provided to regulators, hydrological modeling was unsupported, and statutory requirements were not met. Most critically, Aquila failed to undertake any meaningful review of the feasible alternatives, in order to minimize the impacts to wetlands, or avoid wetlands altogether.Horst Schmidt, president of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition:This is great news for the people of Wisconsin and Michigan. Aquila’s inability to submit a permit without major deficiencies reinforces our concern that this company is unable to meet the minimum standards for developing a safe mining operation. It s a shame people must waste their time for years fighting to keep the State of Michigan from approving a mine that threatens one of the Great Lake’s best sports fishing habitats, even as Michigan and Wisconsin nonprofits and environmental agencies work jointly to restore sturgeon habitat in the Menominee River. I congratulate the Administrative Law Judge on this wise environmental ruling.Carl Lindquist, executive director of the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land ConservancyWe applaud the decision to deny this permit. We’ve worked with eight Native American tribes and other stakeholders to list the Menominee among American Rivers’ Top Ten Most Endangered Rivers in the United States. We are convinced that Aquila’s open pit mine is too risky. In addition to exposing sulfide based ore, the mining process would use cyanide and other toxins, a stone s throw from one of the largest tributaries to Lake Michigan. The risks to wetlands, groundwater, surface water, the Great Lakes and the cultural legacy of the Menominee Indian Tribe are simply too great.SUPPORTIndependent review of the Aquila Back Forty Wetland permit was made possible by the generous support of groups and individuals concerned about the future health of the Menominee River. Working collaboratively, the Mining Action Group of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and the Front 40 secured grants and donations from Freshwater Future, Superior Watershed Partnership, the Western Mining Action Network, DuPage Rivers Fly Tyers (DRiFT), Northern Illinois Fly Tyers (NIFT), Badger Fly Fishers, M M Great Lakes Sport Fisherman, Wisconsin Smallmouth Alliance, Fly Fishers International, Great Lakes Council of Fly Fishers International, the Emerick Family Fund, and from many individual fishing enthusiasts throughout the Great Lakes area.KEY LINKSJanuary 4, 2021, Contested Case Decision and OrderUrban Milwaukee: Murphy’s Law: Flip-Flop on Mine Threatens State WatersDetroit Free Press “Upper Peninsula mine approved despite major concerns from DEQ and EPA staff, records show”June 6, 2018, “Why was Aquila’s Wetland Permit Issued?”JOIN THE CONVERSATION!Join UPEC s upcoming Livestream Event A WIN FOR WETLANDS to learn more about this important environmental legal decision. A WIN FOR WETLANDS will offer a panel discussion featuring Al Gedicks of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, Dale Burie of the Coalition to Save the Menominee, Guy Reiter of Menikanaehkem, and Kathleen Heideman of the Mining Action Group. The event will take place on Thursday, January 14, 2020, at 7 pm EST, livestreamed via Facebook and Zoom. Connect using these links:Join Facebook Livetream Zoom Meeting ID: 831 1343 8020Passcode: 2021One tap mobile+12532158782,,83113438020#,,,,*2021# US (Tacoma)+13017158592,,83113438020#,,,,*2021# US (Washington D.C)# # #Coalition to SAVE the MenomineePresident Dale Burie, (615) 512-3506The Coalition’s mission is to protect the water quality of the Menominee River for generations to come and ensure clean water for the two municipalities that draw their water supply from the mouth of the Menominee River. jointherivercoalition.orgFront 40 Environmental GroupSpokesperson Ron Henriksen, frontforty2016@aol.comThe Front 40 grassroots organization formed in response to the threat of a metallic mineral mine on the Menominee River. Since 2003, their primary objective has been to ensure that metallic sulfide mining operations are not allowed to adversely impact our rivers, lakes, groundwater and lands. menomineeriver.comMenīkānaehkem Guy Reiter, (715) 853-2776Menīkānaehkem is a grassroots community organization based on the Menominee Reservation in Northeast Wisconsin working to revitalize our communities.Mining Action Group Kathleen Heideman, info@savethewildup.orgThe Mining Action Group, formerly Save the Wild UP, was founded in 2004 to defend the clean water and wild places of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from the dangers of sulfide mining.Superior Watershed PartnershipExecutive Director Carl Lindquist, (906) 228-6095The Superior Watershed Partnership is an award winning Great Lakes nonprofit organization that has set records for pollution prevention and implements innovative, science-based programs that achieves documented, measurable results. SWP is a leader in watershed protection for the Lake Superior Basin and the headwaters region of the Great Lakes ecosystem.Upper Peninsula Environmental CoalitionUPEC Coordinator Dave Harmon, upec@upenvironment.orgFounded in 1976, the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s purpose remains unchanged: to protect and maintain the unique environmental qualities of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by educating the public and acting as a watchdog to industry and government. UPEC is a nonprofit, registered 501(c)(3) organization. UPenvironment.orgWisconsin Resources Protection CouncilExecutive Secretary Al Gedicks, (608) 784-4399The Wisconsin Resources Protection Council was founded in 1982 to help counter the lack of information about the effects of large-scale metallic sulfide mining on our state’s precious water supplies, on the tourism and dairy industries, and upon the many Native American communities that are located near potential mine sites.

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