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The Critical Importance of Environmental Advocacy: The Case of Bingham Canyon Mine

The recent negative news surrounding the Kennecott Bingham Canyon Mine has raised eyebrows and concerns across environmental and health communities. Reports have likened the pollution levels from the mine to the health detriments of smoking 20 cigarettes a day. This alarming comparison stems from findings tied to a lawsuit indicating that the mine has consistently violated the US Clean Air Act over several years.

The lawsuit, driven by groups including Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, highlights the dire consequences of the mine’s operations. Dust particles fine enough to enter the bloodstream have been causing significant respiratory and pulmonary damage, potentially leading to premature deaths. This has put a spotlight on the urgent need for community and policy-driven actions towards environmental health and safety.

The Environmental Impact of Kennecott Utah Copper

Kennecott Utah Copper, a key player in the state’s industrial scene, has seen its emissions of harmful materials, including heavy metals like lead and zinc, increase by nearly 20% in 2016. These emissions contribute significantly to Utah’s ranking among the highest in the nation for environmental hazards. The Toxic Releases Inventory report further emphasizes the severe implications, with the state standing as the third-highest producer of toxic chemicals in the U.S. during the same period.

The Geological and Human Impacts of a Massive Landslide

In April, the Bingham Canyon Mine was the site of a massive landslide, moving over 165 million tons of rock and dirt. This geological event not only halted mining operations but raised additional concerns about the long-term stability of the area and the broader implications on local communities. Remarkably, due to advanced monitoring, no injuries were reported, but the incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers lurking in large-scale mining operations.

Why Join the River Coalition?

Joining the River Coalition represents a critical step towards rectifying the ongoing issues presented by operations like those at Bingham Canyon Mine. The coalition focuses on advocating for stronger environmental policies and practices that can prevent future incidents and mitigate ongoing pollution. By supporting such organizations, individuals can contribute to a larger movement aimed at safeguarding both environmental and public health.

As residents of Utah and concerned global citizens, it is our responsibility to ensure that the beautiful and diverse landscapes of our state are preserved and protected from industrial harm. Supporting the River Coalition not only helps in immediate advocacy but also contributes to long-term strategies aimed at cleaner, healthier living environments.

Call to Action

If you’re moved by the need to protect our environment and ensure a healthier future for the next generations, consider supporting the River Coalition. Every voice counts, and together, we can advocate for change and hold industries accountable for their environmental impacts. Join us in this crucial cause, for the health of our communities and the preservation of our natural landscapes.

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Rights of Nature Wisconsin

Rights of Nature: Wisconsin
January 3, 2024

Our newsletter begins the new year with exciting, breaking news. Then an overview of who we are and what we do, Next, to contrast what has gone wrong in environmental law and what the Rights of Nature movement is accomplishing, we bring you articles on both aspects. Finally, there’s news on a poster and a speaking contest on conservation awareness for students in grades 5 through 12.

2024 will be a critical year on many fronts; it’s also a year in which the Rights of Nature can accelerate our effect on saving and recovering our natural world.
  Breaking News
Inside Climate News
Jan 1, 2024, Ireland Could Become the Next Nation to Recognize the Rights of Nature and a Human Right to a Clean EnvironmentIreland—a nation synonymous with its abundant, verdant landscapes—is considering a nationwide referendum on the rights of nature and the human right to a healthy environment. If that happens, Ireland would become the first European country to constitutionally recognize that ecosystems, similar to humans and corporations, possess legal rights. More than two-thirds of the 27 European Union countries already recognize a universal human right to a healthy environment. We’ve been recognized!!
Note this paragraph in the article:

In October, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin recognized the rights of nature, noting that it was following the lead of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, which had previously recognized the inherent rights of the Menominee River to flourish and naturally exist. Read More
Our Story
We advocate for the Rights of Nature, an international movement giving plants, animals, rivers, mountains, oceans, and all ecosystems equal and intrinsic rights to exist, regenerate, evolve, and thrive.

Our focus is Gaining formal and legal recognition for the Rights of Nature in an escalating series of legislative efforts developing and delivering educational materials, presentations, and forms of outreach relating to the Rights of Nature movement Read More
The Cool Down
Nov. 6, 2023New research reveals industry used 160 million pounds of
‘secret chemicals’ over past decade:
‘May just be the tip of the iceberg’New research revealed that oil and gas producers in Pennsylvania used “some 160 million pounds” of secret chemicals in more than 5,000 gas wells over the past decade, according to Inside Climate News. To make matters worse, the chemicals may have contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are described as “a toxic and pervasive class of chemicals.”Read More
Scientific American
Jan. 1, 2024 Streams in Alaska are turning orange with iron and sulfuric acid. Scientists are trying to figure out why one of the most remote and undisturbed rivers in America, the Salmon has long been renowned for its unspoiled nature. When author John McPhee paddled the Salmon in 1975, it contained “the clearest, purest water I have ever seen flowing over rocks,” he wrote in Coming into the Country, an Alaska classic. A landmark 1980 conservation act designated it a wild and scenic river for what the government called “water of exceptional clarity,” deep, luminescent blue-green pools, and “large runs of chum and pink salmon.”Now, however, the Salmon is quite literally rusting. Tributary streams along one-third of the 110-kilometer river are full of oxidized iron minerals and, in many cases, acid. “It was a famous, pristine river ecosystem,” Sullivan said, “and it feels like it’s completely collapsing now.” Read More
Wisconsin Law Journal
Dec. 6, 2023Kohler golf course permit denied as
Appeals Court upholds lower courtThe Wisconsin Court of Appeals has upheld the lower court’s decision to deny Kohler Co. a wetland permit to build the company’s sixth golf course on sacred Native American burial land that would also have had a widespread environmental impact, according to litigants.Read More
Good Good Good
Dec 10, 2023A Native-Led Company Is Installing Solar Farms
for Tribal Nations Across the USCody Two Bears, a member of the Sioux tribe in North Dakota, founded Indigenized Energy, a native-led energy company with a unique mission — installing solar farms for tribal nations in the United States.Read More
CDER – Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights
Rights of Manoomin (Wild Rice)In 2018, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe recognized the rights of manoomin (wild rice), the first law to recognize the legal rights of a plant species. In 2021, manoomin and the White Earth Band filed Manoomin,, v. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, (Case No. GC21-0428) in the White Earth Tribal Court to enforce the rights of wild rice, the first rights of nature enforcement case to be brought in a tribal court. Read More
CDER – Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights
Land That Owns ItselfThe Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (CDER) has launched its Land That Owns Itself Program. This program is focused on transforming nature from human property to self-ownership and self-governance, separate from human interference and control. Read More
Wisconsin Land + Water
67th Annual Conservation Poster & Speaking ContestThe 2024 NACD* Poster Contest theme is “May the Forest Be With You Always.”The Conservation Poster Contest is open to kindergarten through 12th-grade students and posters are evaluated on the following criteria: Conservation message
Visual effectiveness
Universal appeal
Individual artwork
* National Association of Conservation Districts
Read More
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The Raffle Tickets are in and if you would like to buy some or maybe you would like to help sell some, come to the Coalition to Save the Menominee River meeting on Thursday, September 7 at 6 PM at NWTC on University Drive, Room MN 115. We have some great prizes; shown below!

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Back 40: A Clash of Values

We wanted to share with everyone Mark Doremus’ updated website. It also serves as a reminder that this is far from being over and we are all in this together. Please take a few moments to look at all the updates. We are so thankful for Mark’s continued work.

Back 40: A Clash of Values

Upcoming Events

Stay tuned for updates on the Peshtigo Parade, on September 30.

For our September 7 General Meeting, we are back at Marinette Tech on University Avenue, Room MN115 at 6 PM. We thank Our Saviors Lutheran Church for the use of their facilities this summer!

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DNR receives metallic minerals lease application from Aquila Resources USA, Inc. in Menominee County

DNR to hold April 16 public meetings regarding Aquila Resources USA, Inc. direct lease application

Approximately 406.67 acres of metallic mineral lease rights in Menominee County have been requested by Aquila Resources USA, Inc.

Detailed information regarding the lease request can be found on the DNR Metallic Minerals webpage.

Informational virtual meetings

Informational public meetings will be held from 10-11 a.m. and 5-6 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 16, with an opportunity for public comment.

The meetings will be recorded, and the recordings will be made available at

Virtual meetings and registration link:

Interested parties may join the meetings by going to: is required to provide public comment during the meetings. 

Anyone wishing to participate in the public comment portion of the meetings will be allowed two minutes to speak.

Phone-in option:

If you do not wish to register or do not have internet access, please use the phone option by dialing 1-248-509-0316 and using access code 333-828-371#.

Written questions

A multi-agency panel will respond to written questions from the public regarding the lease application during these meetings.

Questions may be submitted to:

  • DNR, Minerals Management Section
    P.O. Box 30452
    Lansing, MI 48909
  • Or via email to The subject line should read: Aquila Resources USA, Inc.

Written questions received by April 5 will be addressed during the meeting; questions received after April 5 will be answered via email.

This just in:

The comment period on the proposed lease is open through Aug. 20

Aquila Resources USA, Inc. has requested a metallic minerals lease from the state of Michigan. The 406.67 acres, more or less, are located within Lake Township in Menominee County.

Get more detailed information on the direct leasing process on the DNR website or email [email protected] (subject line should read: Aquila Resources USA, Inc.). We will accept comments through Sunday, Aug. 20.

Be sure to follow the email link above to respond to this!

What this is about:

Sadly, the proposed mineral leases are on state lands. The proposed lands are also in the vicinity of the Shakey Lakes County Park. The people of Menominee County continue to be overwhelmingly opposed to a metallic sulfide mine that would pollute any waterways, pose human health hazards from toxic metal contamination, and destroy the existing economy based upon tourism, recreation, and a world-class fishing habitat.  Now, in addition, there will be more truck traffic and heavy equipment. You, the DNR state that you promote “the public enjoyment of this state’s wildlife and other natural resources by providing public access to lands under the control of the department for outdoor recreation activities dependent on natural resources…” (Section 324.504 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994).

If you were to grant this lease to Aquila/GORO, it would deprive the public of the clean air and water we rightly deserve. Metallic mining will release many pollutants into the air, waterways, and soil. The intended result is a metallic sulfide mine and leasing state-owned land for the purpose of developing a metallic sulfide mine is a violation of this public trust.

Furthermore, where is the oversight? An excellent example of the pollution threat and lack of oversight of local water supplies dates back to 2002, when Aquila Resources, the exploration company at that time, bored 769 drill holes, over 134,000 meters (83.3 miles) in Lake Township and Menominee County’s aquifer. Those test wells remain open and are not permanently capped. The failure to properly abandon these test holes creates a pollution risk to our drinking water. Now to add to the mix we have waste rock. The vast majority of the rock brought up is acid-draining waste. Where is this going? Into a tailings dam? A tailings dam is nothing, but an earthen structure destined to fail. This is a major environmental disaster just waiting to happen. I beg you to outlaw them.

Water is life. We cannot live without water. This alone should be sufficient reason to say no!

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GORO Stocks are Down!

Things seem a little low-key right now GORO stock prices are rapidly declining.

It may look like we are winning the battle to save our beloved Menominee River. But now is not the time to become complacent. Things may be a little on the quiet side but they are far from being over. We must remain vigilant, we must continue to fight the good fight.

We still need you more than ever.  Stay with us. Stay engaged. Tap into what you do best to help. Maybe that is writing letters to the editor, writing letters for others who don’t possess that talent, continue to write your local and state officials and agencies. Put up a sign and spread the word. It takes all of us.

We have a great Water Celebration coming up on September 16 at the Menominee Band Shell for starters.

This is something you don’t want to miss and we will also need lots of helping hands. We don’t sit around. We’re soon going mobile! We’re talking high visibility.  Details soon! Coming soon are a few new merchandise options! We continue to walk the talk. We don’t want you to miss anything. We’ll tell you when it’s over….

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Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River holds Water Celebration featuring Native, and non-Native speakers on Back 40 mining project

During July 23, 2022, Water Celebration to benefit the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Coalition founder Dale Burie, left, presents a Trailblazer award to Ron and Carol Henriksen, leaders of the Front 40 grassroots environmental group, a predecessor of the Coalition. Beginning in 2003,… – Click to Read More

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“FOXY” Guitar Given Away!

Warren McKenney, a custom guitar builder, pictured on left,  presented his hand-crafted guitar named “FOXY” to MaKena Johnson-Haroldson, on right, of Lake Villa, Illinois.

MaKena held the winning raffle ticket for the guitar at the 2nd Annual Water Celebration held by the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. on Stephenson Island in Marinette, Wisconsin.

MaKena, only 15 years old, plays guitar, piano, clarinet, and ukulele, and has been accepted to the Chicago Academy for the Arts.

Warren McKenney also gifted MaKena with a hand-made case, leather strap, and a guitar amplifier.

Warren also serves as a Board Member for the Coalition.

MaKena is the daughter of Jeff Haroldson and Great-Granddaughter of Bill and Carole Boerner of Marinette, Wisconsin.

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Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. was well represented at the Farmer’s Market

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. was well represented at the Farmer’s Market Saturday, July 30, 2022.
at Spies Library in Menominee, Michigan.

From left to right, Karen Prange, Janet Klaver, and Diane Woods

Thank You, Karen, Janet, and Diane for all your work !!

Next door, the Brown Trout Derby was being held, sponsored by the M & M Great Lakes Sports Fishermen, Inc.
The Derby celebrates its 41st year in Menominee and has engaged 260 fishermen as they attempt to lure the biggest fish in numerous categories for huge prizes. The Brown Trout Derby is a major event for the Menominee and Marinette areas drawing hundreds and hundreds of sports enthusiasts to the area and to the local economy.

The Coalition is proud of our affiliation with the Great Lakes Sports Fishermen, Inc. organization as we both are challenged by the threat of sulfide mining on the Menominee River.