This was our program for June 8, 2017. It is an issue we are working on.
Introduced by William Van Lopik, Ph.D
ESTHER-Fox Valley, Community Organizer
Adjunct Faculty, College of Menominee Nation
Presented by Guy Reiter
Menominee Tribal Organizer and Activist
And by Dr. Al Gedicks
Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council
And by Douglas Cox
Tribal Legislator, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
The ESTHER organization was approached by the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to join with them in opposition of the proposed Back 40 Mine near the Michigan/Wisconsin border along the Menominee River. This is an issue that is important to the tribe because of cultural and spiritual reasons and is important to all of notheastern Wisconsin because of environmental reasons. The possibility of Lake Michigan water being contaminated is a concern to all of us.
Here is some info about the Back Forty Mine Issue:
- Aquila Resources wants to develop an open pit (2000 feet by 2500 feet and 750 feet deep) massive gold, zinc, and sulfide mine only 150 feet from the Menominee River which forms the boundary between Wisconsin and Michigan.
- The Menominee River is the largest river system in the Upper Peninsula with a 4000 sq mile drainage system.
- The Menominee River is culturally significant as a major prehistoric travel corridor for indigenous peoples and the source of Creation for the Menominee Indian Tribe.
- The Menominee River watershed supports sturgeon spawning, strong populations of small mouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and trout.
- Dewatering the mine pit can lower ground water levels around the mine harming the Shakey Lakes Savanna, a 1520 acre natural area, part of the Escanaba state forest.
- Metallic sulfide mines in the United States will pollute up to 27 million gallons of fresh water per year. The main reason is acid mine drainage which occurs when mineral deposits containing sulfides are exposed to the air and water during excavation.
- The mine poses a major threat to the Menominee Indian Tribe's cultural resources. 22 of their known cultural sites are within the project area, including burial mounds, prehistoric garden beds and prehistoric village sites.
- Aquila Resources is a Canadian exploration company. The gold and zinc sulfide mine has been given preliminary approval by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
HOW TO HELP:
Action Item: Divest from Aquila Resources
UWSP article, Wisconsin's Standing Rock: The Back Forty Mine Project (04/18/17)
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, Michigan Mine Prompts Scrutiny (09/19/16)
Peshtigo Times article, Professor Details Risks of Mine, Says "No Chance" for Back Forty (06/01/17)
Fox 11 News, Back 40 mine opponents release videos (05/31/17)
Wisconsin 2017 Assembly Joint Resolution 69 (AJR69) opposing the development of Aquila Resources' Back Forty Project.
Resolution with the Marinette County Board of Supervisors (Passed 09/20/16)
WBAY TV-2 news about plea to Menominee city council to pass a resolution against sulfide mines. (04/17/17)
Report by Dr. Al Gedicks explaining why this mine lacks a social license to operate.
Presentation by Dr. Al Gedicks at the June 8 Sierra Club meeting. (PDF version)