THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Hearings On Aquila Mine Resume Oct. 23
Issue Date: October 17, 2019
Hearings on remaining permits Aquila Resources needs to construct its controversial Back 40 Mine near the Menominee River in Menominee County's Stephenson Township will resume in lansing, Mich. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, and are expected to continue through Friday, Oct. 25.
The permitting process started under Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which was reorganized early this year into the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
EGLE subsequently established a new Environmental Permit Review Commission (EPRC) to serve as a contested case review panel and consider appeals from rulings of Administrative Laws Judges.
The EPRC contested case review panel had convened for the first time ever in June in Lansing to consider petitions filed by Tom Boerner (who owns property on the Menominee River), and the Menominee Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.
An Administrative Law Judge, after hearing a cumulative 30 days of testimony that started in April of 2018 and ended in October of 2018, had issued a decision on May 3, 2019 "that the proposed mining operation will not pollute, impair, or destroy the air, water and other natural resources, or the public trust in those resources," and that it was in compliance with Michigan's Non Ferrous Metallic Mining Statute. That decision is now being appealed by Boerner, the Menominee Tribe of Indians and others, including the Save The Menominee River" organization, which is represented by Green Bay Attorney Ted Warpinski. There are also related cases pending in federal court.
Opponents of the mine contend that the mining will adversely affect the waters of the Menominee River and groundwater in the area on both the Michigan and Wisconsin sides of the Menominee River and eventually could also contaminate the waters of Green Bay.
On Tuesday, May 14, Administrative Law Judge Daniel L. Pulter, in the Michigan Office of Hearings and Rules, ruled that the Coalition to Save the Menominee River has sufficient basis to remain a party in consolidated cases regarding a 303 Wetlands permit for the mine that was issued in 2018 by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), formerly known as the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Others remaining as aggrieved parties in the pending contested case hearing are Coalition President Thomas Boerner, as an individual, and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin.