Posted on

The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s Livestream Series Presents

Contact: Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC)

upec@upenvironment.org   •   ph 906-201-1949

Mobilizing the Grassroots to Protect the Menominee River

Our guests:

Dr. Al Gedicks, environmental sociologist and Indigenous rights activist

Anahkwet (Guy Reiter), executive Director of Menīkānaehkem, Inc.

Dale Burie, Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River

Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 8:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm CT via livestream on Facebook and Zoom

*NOTE THAT THIS LIVESTREAM IS ON A WEDNESDAY, not our usual Thursday*

Facebook

https://facebook.com/upenvironment/live

Zoom

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86075269466?pwd=OFZCTk1ERHdJSEJOUlNWbW5UaTA3QT09

Meeting ID: 860 7526 9466

Passcode: 2022

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin have joined forces to protect the Menominee River from the Back Forty Project,  a proposed metallic sulfide mine next to the river. So far, their combined public education efforts and legal challenges have forced the withdrawal of Aquila Resources, a Canadian exploration company, from the project. However, a new company, the Gold Resource Corporation (GORO) of Denver, Colorado, has acquired the assets of Aquila Resources and has asserted that they will have all the permits for the Back Forty Project in hand by the end of 2023 with construction to begin by early 2024. On the next Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition Livestream, representatives of this environmental and tribal alliance will discuss how they have brought the Back Forty permitting process to a standstill and how they plan to continue their efforts to protect the Menominee River from any proposed metallic sulfide mine.

Our Guests

Dr. Al Gedicks is an environmental sociologist and Indigenous rights activist and scholar. He has written extensively about Indigenous and popular resistance to ecologically destructive mining and oil projects. In 1977 he founded the Center for Alternative Mining Development Policy. He assisted the Mole Lake Sokaogon Ojibwe Tribe in successfully resisting Exxon’s proposed metallic sulfide mine upstream from the tribe’s sacred wild rice beds. He is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, a statewide environmental organization to educate the public about metallic sulfide mining projects in the upper Midwest. He is presently working with the Menominee Nation and the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River to oppose the Back Forty Project next to the Menominee River.


Anahkwet (Guy Reiter) is a traditional Menominee who resides on the Menominee Reservation and is the Executive Director of Menīkānaehkem, Inc., a Menominee Indian community organization. Anahkwet serves his community as an organizer, activist, author, amateur archaeologist, and lecturer. He also is a member of the Menominee Constitutional Taskforce.

Dale Burie is a retired Safety Coordinator from Tyson Foods, Nashville, Tennessee. Upon retiring and building their retirement home only 1/4 mile from the Menominee River 20 miles North of Marinette, Wisconsin, Dale and his wife Lea Jane became aware of the threat to the river from Aquila Resources sulfide mine exploration company from Toronto, Canada.  Dale and Lea Jane organized their first meeting of the “Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc.” The Coalition’s work continues challenging the next owner of the Back Forty project on the Menominee River. Their website is www.jointherivercoalition.org

The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s Livestream Series keeps the public up-to-date with environmental issues facing the U.P.  The live streams are co-hosted by Board President Horst Schmidt and Vice President Evan Zimmermann. This live stream and all archived past events are available at https://facebook.com/upenvironment/live. For more about UPEC, visit https://upenvironment.org.

Posted on

MENOMINEE RIVER UPDATE REPORT:

Letter to the Editor: May 9th, 2022

Aquila Resources has transferred its interests in the Back Forty project west
of Stephenson, Michigan, to Gold Resource Corporation (GORO) of Denver, CO.
Those of you who had purchased Aquila stock have already received your transfer
letter informing investors of significantly reduced share numbers and value.
Dr. Al Gedicks, my wife, Lea Jane, and I met in person with Allen Palmiere,
CEO, and Kim Perry, CFO, of Gold Resource Corporation, in Menominee,
Michigan on April 7th, 2022.

They informed us of their intentions to proceed with plans to revive the Back
Forty Project. We told them that our position has not changed, and we will
continue to challenge every permit application, in court, if necessary.
They were not aware of the eight counties, including Menominee County, that
has passed resolutions opposing the Back Forty project.

Allen stated that the Back Forty had all four permits, and Dr. Gedicks corrected
him since the only permit Aquila fully possessed was the NPDES permit for the
discharge of 1.52 million gallons of water back into the Menominee River per day.
Other permits were not fully granted because they were challenged in legally
contested cases. They also did not have the Dam Safety Permit that, according to
EGLE of Michigan is definitely necessary before a shovel ever hits the ground.
After a very thorough two-hour discussion, I asked Allen and Kim to participate
in a Public Forum. Allen agreed to participate after the Feasibility Study
and the mine design are completed, along with final permission from the Security
Exchange Commission.

The format of the Public Forum will be a large venue, with a custom sound
system so that everyone can hear the dialog. The panel will consist of Gold
Resource representatives, our panel of scientific experts, and other notable guests.
All news media will be invited, including TV, radio, newspapers, social media, and
prominent documentarians for historical preservation. The public will be invited,
and the second half of the Forum will be established for questions from the public.
Because the threat of sulfide mining affects everyone in this watershed, and we
all are consumers of clean water, people must have the opportunity to have their
questions answered truthfully.

The Coalition continues to stand vigilant to protect the Menominee River.
Submitted by Dale Burie,
Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc.
www.jointherivercoalition.org

Posted on

Local Environmental Group Receives International Award for their efforts

March 24, 2021

For Immediate Release:

A local environmental group was honored this week with an international award for their efforts to protect the Menominee River. The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the Menominee River safe from the threat of an open pit metallic sulfide mine,  received the 2020 Freshwater Hero Award.  The award, given by Freshwater Future., a non-profit organization based in Petoskey, Michigan, honors and celebrates everyday people who jump into action to solve the most pressing issues facing the Great Lakes. 

The award  features a miniature canoe and is inscribed with the following:

  Fresh Water Hero Award

                  In grateful acknowledgment for your outstanding contributions COALITION TO SAVE THE MENOMINEE and exceptional efforts to ensure the healthy future of our water in the Great Lakes region.

                                Jill M. Ryan, Executive Director 2021

Dale Burie, President of the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. issued this statement:

“We are humbled to receive this award from Freshwater Future,”

“They have been one of our many mentors and have stood by us during our mission” stated Burie.

“We accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers, donors, and leaders who have accepted huge responsibilities to help the Coalition forge ahead to protect the Menominee River for the generations to come”. added Dale Burie, President.

Posted on

Song: Our Great Menominee River, Amen

During the Stay-At-Home pandemic, Lea Jane and Dale Burie of ‘Tater Patch Recording Studio in Wausaukee, Wisconsin, have released their new river awareness song called “Our Great Menominee River, Amen.” Written by Elaine Mayer of Stephenson, Michigan, the song has a strong lyrical message that illustrates the passion of people in Menominee, Marinette, and many other counties who stand firm to protect the beautiful historical legacy of the Menominee River.

Lea Jane wrote the music score, played piano and bass, and sang all the harmonies on the project. Dale supplied the guitar tracks, drums, and the lead vocals. They shared engineering duties and completed the recording session. Dale Burie stated, “It was a labor of love for the preservation of one of our region’s most valuable assets, the Menominee River.”

Everyone is invited to share the song with friends via Facebook, emails, etc., as an encouragement to protect our natural resources. Use of the song is FREE and is available here or on Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. FB page.

Please donate if your heart is with us!

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

Thank you.

Our Great Menominee River, Amen

Lyrics

V.1

From the hidden springs of water
In our Upper Michigan,
Wisconsin waters rush to join in
To that sparkling band of water
That’s been there forever.
She’s our great Menominee River, Amen!

CH:

We have vowed to defend her
As her enemies go after
All the treasures that lie deep within.
We will fight to protect her
From those who don’t respect her,
Our great Menominee River, Amen!

V.2

She has carried life within her,
Run the paper mills beside her,
She’s moved big timber down from the hills.
All the tribes and trappers
Have their history within her,
Our great Menominee River, Amen. (CHORUS)

V.3

Those foreign hands will kill her
If we don’t band together.
She doesn’t stand a chance on her own.
There is strength in numbers;
United we can save her,
Our great Menominee River, Amen!

TAG: She’s our great Menominee River, Amen!

END:

Just watch her water flowing.
In the morning sun she’s glowing,
Our great Menominee River, Amen!

Posted on

Aquila Permit Update 11/23/19

BACK FORTY PROJECT – IS IT A DONE DEAL?

NO!

November 23, 2019

NOTE:  AQUILA DOES NOT HAVE ALL NECESSARY BACK FORTY PERMITS.

              As of November 23, 2019, only ONE of FIVE required permits has been both “issued” and deemed “effective,” and that is the NPDES Permit, #1 on the list below.

Definitions:

  • Issued – means that a permit has been signed, not actually “Effective.”
  • With Conditions – means a permit is signed and tentatively approved, PENDING a long list of substantive conditions that have to be met before mining could begin; and
  • Effective – means the permit has met ALL pre-mine construction conditions (if there were any attached) and the permit is fully granted.
  1. NPDES Permit: Issued and Effective.  This is the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, involving water discharge to the Menominee River.
  1. Mining Permit 632 Amendment: Amendment (with major changes) to the original Mining Permit 632 was in Public Comment period until  July 23, 2019 & still awaiting final decision by EGLE (formerly MDEQ).
  1. Modified Air Quality Permit: Amendment was in Public Comment period until July 23, 2019 & still awaiting final decision by EGLE.
  1. Wetland Permit: “Issued” but not “effective” and contains 28 pages, single-spaced typed, of many conditions that would have to be met before it was considered “Effective.”  This Permit is also involved in TWO contested cases against the MDEQ (now EGLE) and TWO federal court cases against the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers.
  1. Dam Safety Permit: Still under deliberation by EGLE (formerly MDEQ).

Regarding this Permit:

On 6/20/19, there was an important ruling from Luke Trumble of EGLE. The Project Assessment was not adequate to complete the Review of the project. Much additional information was requested of Aquila.  Also, referenced documents were not provided with the application; EGLE asked for more details on 11 substantive issues.

In response to EGLE’s 8/9/19 request for further information regarding the Dam Safety Permit application, Aquila has had two extensions: 10/3/19 and 11/4/19. On 11/4/19 Aquila requested a further extension until 12/31/19. If EGLE has not received the requested information by 12/31/19, Aquila would be required to submit a NEW application for the Dam Safety Permit.

Posted on

Letter to “The Mining Journal”

Mine isn’t done deal

To the Journal editor:

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River Inc. filed suit in Michigan state court contesting the signing of the “Wetlands Permit” which contains 28 pages of single-spaced “conditions” to be met by Aquila before the permit is valid. The court case is not over, so no decision has been made by Judge Pulter. Yet, Aquila has chosen to lie in their advertising on TV-6, Marquette; TV-5, Green Bay; and TV-11, Green Bay, telling the public they have all the permits and will be mining in 2020. This information is not true.

Mark Twain Quote: “A mine is a hole in the ground with a liar standing on top.”

Now Aquila is offering community contracts to “buy” their way into local units of government in Michigan. These contracts, if signed, are irreversible; and promising to provide equipment and services to these governing bodies is no less than extortion, in my mind.

I have spent 3 1/2 weeks in Lansing during this “contested case” hearing and yes, there are inconsistencies in the testimonies of the “expert” witnesses. And we are not done. We will return to Lansing for three more days of testimony this fall. After testimonies are completed, all attorneys will submit their summaries to the judge in writing. The judge will then make his decision. No matter who wins this case, I am sure “appeals” will follow. And circuit court. Then supreme court. As the law provides.

The coalition has also filed a federal case against EPA and Army Corp of Engineers, which will be forthcoming in the near future.

In addition, the public has experienced misleading media that has many people confused. We were all brought up to “trust” our media; evidently this is not true any longer. Please check out everything you read and confirm its truth before you believe it.

It’s time to stand up for what you believe to be in the best interest of your community, your future generations, and your water. Protect yourself.

There has never been a metallic sulfide mine that has not polluted or contaminated the environment. There is too much at stake in this decision. The risk is too high!

Get more information at: jointherivercoalition.org. Email me at: jointherivercoalition@gmail.com

DALE BURIE, President
Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc.