THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Files Two New Petitions Against Back Forty Mine
Issue Date: February 6, 2020
Tom Boerner recently filed two more contested case petitions with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) protesting their Dec. 12, 2019 decision to issue a Part 55, Air Pollution Control Permit and an Amended Part 632 Mining Permit to Aquila Resources for their Back Forty Project in Menominee County, Mich.. Boerner is a private land owner whose property abuts the site of the controversial Aquila Resources' Back Forty Mine.
Boerner reminded anyone wanting to contest the Air Quality and/or Part 632 permits that they must file a contested case petition within 60-days from December 12, 2019, the date the permits were issued.
Once a contested case petition is filed the permits remain pending until after a final decision is made by an Administrative Law Judge; and if these decisions are then contested, an Environmental Permit Review Commission (EPRC) Contested Case Review Panel will review the judge's decision and make their recommendation.
Boerner said he is contesting these permits based on his allegations that persons within the State of Michigan signed them for political reasons and did not take into consideration the direct impacts, indirect impacts, cumulative impacts, and known health risks to the air that will be caused by mining activity, as well as impacts on properties in the State of Wisconsin which borders the mine site along the Menominee River and harm that will result to adjacent and aggrieved property owners, including minor children. He pointed out the proposed mine site is just 147 feet from the Menominee River and in close proximity to Shakey Lakes County Park.
These are Boerner's third and fourth contested case petitions the State of Michigan's issuance of permits to Aquila Resources. Previously he had contested issuance of Aquila's original Part 632 Mining Permit and Part 303 Wetlands Permit.
The Part 632 contested case began in February 2017 and ended over two years later, in November of 2019. While the contested case proceedings were in process Aquila had filed a revised Part 632 Permit application. On December 12, 2019 approval was issued for the amended Part 632 Permit.
Boerner's petition contesting issuance of the current Part 303 Wetlands Permit was filed on June 7, 2018. The judge is expected to make a decision on that petition sometime early this year.
Boerner notes that a large portion of the 1,080-acre proposed mine site is currently owned by the State of Michigan and anyone who wants to can still hunt, hike, explore and see nature on this state owned land. Much of it also is occupied by the Menominee Indians' raised garden beds which Boerner said is the furthest north in America that Native American artifacts of this type have been found. He maintains operating a mine on this property will bring destruction to an area of great historic value.