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Author: Laura Rowe

Risks to Wildlife

Leachate from the mining process have proven highly elevated levels of: arsenic, sulfide, lead, manganese, copper sulfate, iron, mercury – all of which are detrimental to plants, animals, aquatic life, and humans, even at slightly elevated levels. These pollutants cause symptoms that can lead to failure of respiratory system, nervous system, brain heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Can cause cancer, and the kind of nerve damage seen in Parkinson’s.

Waste discharge threatens aquatic life and freshwater fisheries, the threat has not been fully evaluated, though permits have been approved for the massive discharge of waste water directly back into the Menominee River.

The Shakey Lakes Savannah is the MOST intact and diverse area of pine and oak barrens in Northern Michigan, and also includes intermittent wetlands. Formerly 30 million acres, all that remains is 0.02% of oak savannahs in Michigan, it is one of the rarest landscapes. Endangered species and Species of Special Concern in the savannah area include: Dwarf Milkweed, Vasey’s Rush, Hill Thistle, Torrey’s Bulrush, Prairie Birdfoot, Bald Eagle, American Burying Beetle, Long-Eared Bat. Serious lack of population statistics of endangered mussels, clams, snail, and macro/micro invertebrate.

Diversion of the wetlands could also disrupt streams which irrigate the state protected Carney Fen wetlands, where over 50 native orchid species and thousands of other plants have been saved from highway construction.

In the last century, 99% of the population of 250-MILLION year old species of Lake Sturgeon have been killed off. Of the remaining 1%, half (0.5%) live in the Menominee River, an ideal spawning and breeding habitat.

Menominee River Rally

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. is excited to host its first fundraiser entitled “Menominee River Rally”. The event is sure to make a big splash as the first of its kind in the community. It will feature several regional singers and songwriters, plus a guitar builder and vendor buy, sell, and swap.

The Menominee River Rally will take place on Sunday, August 20 from 1pm to 5pm at the Pullman House, just north of Menominee, Mich. Admission at the door is $10 per person.

A number of talented, local musicians will be featured during the concert including: Jerry Cain, Gary Elson, Luke Zastrow, and Matt Voigt, to name a few. The headline music will be provided by local favorite Daze 2 Nights.

Also, the first of its kind in this area, will be a Guitar Builder and Vendor show. The public is invited to bring a guitar to participate in the buy, sell, and trade of the instruments. Only one instrument is allowed with each admission.

All proceeds will go directly to The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. This is the unifying body bringing together multiple grassroots organizations who strive to fight the proposed Back 40 mine project. The mission of the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. is for the advancement of environmental education and the preservation of our natural resources.

Donations are being accepted and can be mailed to P.O. Box 475, Marinette, WI 54143.

Cabelas Ad

The Coalition Steps Forward to Unite Grassroots Movement

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. is pleased to come forward as the unifying body bringing together multiple grassroots organizations who strive to fight the proposed Back 40 mine project. Coming together under the umbrella of the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. are the Front 40, Citizens Against the Back Forty Mine, Save the Menominee River Stop the Back 40 Mine, Friends of the Menominee River, League of Conservation Voters, with other groups being added as the issue continues to gain momentum.

The mission of the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. is for the advancement of environmental education and the preservation of our natural resources. It was created for the joint collaboration of these groups to become stronger as they inform the public regarding the dangers of the proposed Back 40 mine.

“Together, we are working to protect our water, air, soils, aquatic life, wildlife, and people from the dangers of open-pit metallic sulfide mining,” said Dale Burie, Coalition president. “One of our first orders of business is to encourage local residents to get their well water tested. This will serve as a baseline of information if the mine would ever come to fruition.”

Another important reason for the joining of these groups is to have a non-profit entity where concerned citizens can make tax-deductible donations. The Coalition has already begun retaining legal counsel through Ted Warpinski, a renowned environmental attorney, of Friebert, Finerty & St. John, S.C. in Milwaukee, Wis. This will be a valuable step in the pursuit of legal action, if necessary. “Warpinski is a highly respected attorney in environmental law and we are grateful to have his knowledge and expertise representing the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc.,” said Burie.

Coalition volunteers have begun canvassing Menominee and Marinette County communities making citizens aware of the potential risks, educating them on how to get their water tested, and seeking donations to help continue its mission of protecting our water.

As its first public debut, the Coalition will host the Menominee River Rally on August, 20 at the Pullman House in Menominee, Mich. The event will feature music, auctions, and guitar show. More details to come as the event nears.

For more information about the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. please visit www.jointherivercoalition.org. Donations are being accepted and can be mailed to P.O. Box 475, Marinette, WI 54143.

Menominee River is beautiful

The Proposed Back 40 Mine is a Threat in Many Ways


Aquila Resources, a Canadian Mining Company is pursuing mining permits in Stephenson, MI

Permits granted: Mining 632, Air Quality, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Permits pending: Wetlands – upcoming public hearing with MDEQ and public comment period (date to be announced)

They seek to mine copper, gold, and zinc from an open pit sulfide mine they call the BACK 40

The permits state the life of the mine will be 7 years, while their investors are being told 16 years with the final 8 being an underground mine

83 acres wide (3,615,480 square feet) – or – Two Lambeau Stadium complexes wide

750 feet deep – or – Two Statue of Liberty deep

A mere 50 YARDS from the edge of the Menominee River, which flows into the Green Bay of Lake Michigan

Cyanide will be used on site because of the “low grade” of the ore. Due to it’s highly poisonous nature, cyanide has been banned from many countries and territories, and also the states of Montana & Wisconsin

“Upon mine closure, 65 million tons of waste rock and tailings will be backfilled into the pit where they will remain a festering timebomb of pollution and hazardous waste.”



When crushed sulfide rocks and particles interact with oxygen and water, they create sulfuric acid – the same caustic substance used in car batteries. Sulfuric acid dissolves rock and leaches out toxic heavy metals, the substance is commonly called Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). Unlike most iron mining, sulfide mining pit-lakes contaminate water bodies, as acid and metal leaches indefinitely along the pit walls into aquifers and rivers.

Sulfide Mines pollute up to
27 billion gallons of fresh water per year
in the U.S. and will do so in perpetuity

Eastern U.S. has nearly 4,500 miles of streams polluted from mines

Western U.S. has nearly 10,000 miles of waterways polluted by 20-50,000 mines still generating AMD

In 2010, the metal mining industry was responsible for 41% of all toxins released into the environment

Sulfide mining has a near-perfect track record of creating pollution. Mining companies are unable to point to ONE sulfide mine that has EVER been developed, operated, and closed without producing polluted drainage.

“When asked to point to a mine that has NEVER polluted, Joe Maki of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) confessed “I cannot.”

In 1988 alone, overall cleanup cost of AMD was estimated at $30 billion

Taxpayers are left paying for the cleanup after foreign mining companies have vacated and filed for bankruptcy