Menominee River Metal Mine – An Update

Jun 28, 2016 | Citizen Advocacy, Mining, Water Policy

The pending metal mine (gold, copper, lead, zinc, silver) right on the bank of the Menominee River that forms the border between Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is not well known or understood in Wisconsin. The River Alliance has joined the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITW), the Front 40 citizens group, and Save the Wild UP to make sure the public understands the implications and potential damage the mine could cause the river and Green Bay.

We’ve learned that the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is preparing for an “integrated public hearing” in August for all the permits mining firm Aquila Resources is seeking – wetlands, air quality, water pollution and surface mining. That public hearing is likely to take place in Lansing, Michigan. MDEQ sent to Aquila nearly 200 questions calling out inconsistencies and gaps in their analysis supplied with the company’s mining permit application.

Meanwhile, the United Tribes of Michigan and the MITW have passed formal resolutions opposing the development of this mine. So has the River Alliance’s board of directors, at its June 17 meeting. Click here to read the full resolution.

Wisconsin citizens are limited in what actions they can take to express their displeasure with or influence the development of this mine. All regulatory authority rests with the state of Michigan; in fact, Michigan has a unique arrangement with the federal government by which the EPA defers to the state’s regulation of mining without federal oversight. For its part, the Wisconsin DNR will review the water pollution permit application as a courtesy to MDEQ. It has little say over what Michigan will or won’t permit.

The Menominee is a beautiful river, a treasured smallmouth bass fishery with great water quality and scenic beauty largely untrammeled by development. We want people to enjoy and experience this river – perhaps for the last time without a huge metal mine on its shore.