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Federal lawsuit regarding the wetlands permit


On November 13, 2018, the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking review of the federal government’s handling of the wetlands permit for the proposed Back Forty Mine.

As has been well publicized, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have thus far delegated final permitting authority to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality despite the fact that the proposed Back Forty Mine would be located within 50 yards of the Menominee River in Michigan, and an environmental assessment completed as part of the application process determined that there are a number of potential impacts to the Menominee River as well as to Wisconsin residents.  The EPA did lodge numerous objections to the permit but withdrew those objections at the last minute, based on Michigan’s decision to address deficiencies in the permit by imposing material conditions in the permit.

The Coalition’s lawsuit is intended to address two issues:  (1)  Did the EPA properly determine that the proposed wetland permit fell within the authority delegated to Michigan; and (2)  Was the EPA’s decision to withdraw its objections to the permit arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with applicable law.

“With so many potential issues affecting Wisconsin, decisions regarding the proposed Mine shouldn’t be left to a Michigan state agency.  When you have a boundary water and impacts to more than one state, the federal government should be in charge of making permitting decisions and should make those decisions in accordance with the requirements of federal law,” said Dale Burie, President of the Coalition.

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. is a Wisconsin non-profit corporation dedicated to educating and supporting citizens regarding environmental issues affecting the Menominee River, including potential impacts of the proposed Back Forty Mine.


Thank you to everyone who helped make the Menominee River Rally & Guitar Show on August 19, 2018, a huge success!

We especially thank our attorney, Ted A. Warpinski, for participating and offering a legal update.


We’ve taken action in a big way!

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. has filed a Petition For Contested Case Hearing in the state of Michigan, challenging the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) decision to grant the wetland permit to Aquila Resources. The Coalition is represented by environmental attorneys Ted A. Warpinski of Davis & Kuelthau, Green Bay, WI, and Bruce Wallace of Hooper Hathaway, Ann Arbor, MI.

We need your financial help.

The Coalition is a 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation and consists solely of volunteers. Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to:

Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc.
P. O. Box 475
Marinette, WI 54143

Also accepting PayPal or GoFund Me donations through our Facebook page.

Why is the DEQ Director at odds with the findings of their own water resources division?

Back Forty Project wetland permit is approved by the DEQ Director despite contrary findings by Michigan’s DEQ Water Resources Division (WRD)

DEQ Director, C. Heidi Grether, in a June 4, 2018, letter of approval to Aquila Resources stated the following:

“We have determined that the project as proposed could not be permitted without additional supporting documentation because the hydrologic modeling provided does not define the anticipated impacts to aquatic resources described in the application.”


To view entire letter, go to “Approval Letter from DEQ to Aquila


The Water Resources Division of Michigan’s DEQ, in its FINDING of FACT and CONCLUSIONS of LAW, clearly demonstrates why the permit should have been denied:

“WRD finds that the project does not demonstrate that an unacceptable disruption to the aquatic resources of the State will not occur and that the activities associated with the project are not consistent with the permitting criteria for an acceptable impact to the resources regulated under Parts 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, and Part 303, Wetlands Protection.”


To view entire Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law, go to “Finding of Fact


While the wetland permit has been approved, it comes with 30 pages of conditions that MUST be satisfied in order to proceed. Along with that, the three previously-approved permits also include numerous pages of conditions.

To view these 30 pages of wetland conditions, go to  “Conditions of Wetland Permit

Call 517-284-6700

Many thanks to all who support us in this environmental fight to protect the Menominee River.

News Release August 2, 2018


August 2, 2018

The filing of a Petition For Contested Case Hearing in the State of Michigan has been announced by Dale Burie, President of the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc., challenging the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to grant Aquila Resources a wetlands permit that allows metallic sulfide mining adjacent to the Menominee River.

There has never been a metallic sulfide mine that successfully avoided polluting area water supplies. Since the Menominee River is the Boundary Water between Michigan and Wisconsin, metallic sulfide mining near the river has the grave potential to impact surface and groundwater resources on both sides of the river and damage water quality of the municipal water supplies for the cities of Menominee, Michigan, and Marinette, Wisconsin, which in turn threatens human health. The fact that these risks remain unevaluated is evident when looking at 30 pages of conditions that are to be completed before startup.

In addition to water quality, degrading the Menominee River affects fish and other aquatic life, wildlife, tourism, property values of taxpayers on both sides of the river, and disturbs the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s ancient burial grounds.

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that consists solely of volunteers; there are no salaries. The Coalition represents the interests of individuals and groups concerned about the effects of the proposed Back Forty mine. The Coalition echoes the opposition voiced by groups such as River Alliance of Wisconsin, the Sierra Club, Patagonia, Freshwater Future, the Front 40 Group, numerous additional environmental organizations and municipalities, as well as thousands of concerned citizens living in Michigan and Wisconsin, in opposition to the proposed Back Forty project.

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. is represented by environmental attorneys Ted A. Warpinski of Davis & Kuelthau in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Bruce Wallace of Hooper Hathaway in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Dale Burie, President
Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc.
P.O. Box 475
Marinette, WI  54143
(615) 512-3506  Cell phone
(715) 732-4211  Home

Midwest Waters Angling Co. Bronzeback Cup

The first annual Bronzeback Cup Invitational Fly Tournament will be  POSTPONED until further notice.

The event will be based out of the Chicago suburbs (more info to come).

The entry fee per team is $375. This includes Tournament shirts, SWAG bags, a donation to the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, dinner, and cash prizes. This is a non-profit tournament, and ALL of the proceeds will go towards prizes and donations.

For more information, visit https://www.midwestwaters.com/bronzeback-cup/

Facebook event

Fly Fishing Film Tour: March 8

Fly Fishing’s most-attended annual event! The original and largest tour of its kind. Each show is a high-energy celebration!

March 8, 2018

Fly Fishing Film Tour
Meyer Theatre
117 South Washington Street
Green Bay, Wisconsin


General admission: $18

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. will have a presence at this event. We will have a merchandise table and a brief speaking opportunity, furthering our cause to protect the water, environment, and health of people in this area and for future generations.

For more information, visit https://meyertheatre.org/the-fly-fishing-film-tour-2018/