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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Use the power of the pen!

Action Needed on Back Forty Mine!

CITIZENS AGAINST THE BACK FORTY MINE·THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2019

(From our friends at River Alliance of Wisconsin)

More than 300 people attended and 60 people spoke at the consolidated Back Forty Mine/Aquila Resources permit hearing on Tuesday evening.
Thank you to everyone who attended and spoke for our waters. It was great to see the huge crowd wearing blue!

You can watch a video recording of the June 25 hearing thanks to Indian Country TV.

If you couldn’t attend but would like to take action to protect the Menominee River, please submit written comments using the information below.

Submit written comments to protect the Menominee River:

Anyone interested in protecting our water resources from mining pollution may submit comments. Please submit your written comments to The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) using the information below.
The hearing covered three permits, you may submit public comments for EACH permit:

  • Dam Safety
  • Air Quality
  • Oil, Gas, and Minerals

DAM SAFETY

Deadline for written comments: Friday, July 5. The address is below.
EGLE
Water Resource Division, Marquette District Office,
1504 West Washington Street
Marquette, MI, 49855

AIR QUALITY

Deadline for written comments: Tuesday, July 23.
Submit comments to deq-aqd-ptipubliccomments@michigan.gov and use the subject line: Aquila Resources Inc. – Permit to Install Application No. 205-15A.

OIL, GAS, AND MINERALS

Deadline for written comments: Tuesday, July 23.
Submit comments to EGLE-Mining-Comments@michigan.gov.

MORE INFORMATION ON PERMITS

If you would like more information about the permits, EGLE held two webinars to provide information and take questions about the permits.
Watch the webinars at these links:
6/17 EGLE WEBINAR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCCg7_SA5KU&feature=youtu.be
6/18 EGLE WEBINAR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdiPDAfhDtg&feature=youtu.be

A decision on all three permits is expected this fall.

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Federal lawsuit regarding the wetlands permit

PRESS RELEASE

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.