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Received the following about a mining project under review on the Menominee. Please read & respond before the deadline.

Fwd: Public Meeting for Back Forty Project

The Menominee River is in danger. The proposed Back Forty Project is located right next to the river. This mine, if created, would likely produce metallic sulfide that would damage this river. Please share the note below with your members and ask them to send their comments to the Michigan DEQ. My contact info is. Dick Dragiewicz
. Cell #847 924 9299. Another related message is being sent to you.

Sent from my iPhone Dick Dragiewicz

Begin forwarded message:


December 16, 2015 at 7:02:35 PM EST

Public Meeting for Back Forty Project



Aquila Resources Back Forty Mine Permit Application

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Office of Geological Survey, will conduct a public meeting on the application for a mining permit for the proposed Back Forty Mine by Aquila Resources Inc. The location of the proposed mine is in Lake Township, Menomonee County, Michigan. The application was submitted under the requirements of Part 632, Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Mining, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The MDEQ received the application on November 12, 2015, and determined it to be administratively complete on November 26, 2015.


The purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for interested parties to exchange information through informal discussions. The meeting will be held on January 5, 2016, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. CST, at the Stephenson High school, W526 Division Street, Stephenson, Michigan.

Interested persons may submit written comments by mail or e-mail until 5:00 P.M. Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Mail your comments to DEQ Back Forty Mine Comments, Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, Michigan, 49855; or via email to


A copy of the application may be reviewed at the following locations:


MDEQ Upper Peninsula District Office, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI.

Contact Tina Coluccio, 906-228-4524


MDEQ Office of Geological Survey, 525 W. Allegan St., Lansing, Michigan 48933

Contact Deana Lawrence, 517-284-6823


Lake Township Hall, Co. Rd. 577/G-12, Stephenson


The application may also be viewed on the Internet at:



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Second message I mentioned in the first note.

Sent from my iPhone Dick Dragiewicz

Begin forwarded message:
Dick Dragiewicz <

December 23, 2015 at 10:45:21 PM EST

River Alliance of Wisconsin <

Mike Simon <

Fwd: Environmentalists Criticize Sulfide Mine Planned for Menominee River

Hi. Here's the second message about the Menominee River

Sent from my iPhone Dick Dragiewicz

Begin forwarded message:


December 21, 2015 at 1:34:57 PM EST

Environmentalists Criticize Sulfide Mine Planned for Menominee River



Alexandra Maxwell, Save the Wild U.P. executive director,
(906) 662-9987

Kathleen Heideman, Save the Wild U.P. president,

Ron Henriksen, Front 40 spokesman, (906) 563-5766

Environmentalists Criticize Open Pit Sulfide Mine Planned for Menominee River

-- In November, Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) learned that Aquila Resources (Aquila) submitted a mine permit application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for their “Back Forty Project” (“Back 40” in some sources, including MDEQ’s website). Aquila describes the proposed mine as “gold- and zinc-rich” but their investor materials list several other “metals of primary interest” including lead, copper and silver. The Back Forty, a volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit, also contains additional toxic metals, arsenic, corrosive sulfosalts, and radioactive elements including uranium. Aquila’s mine permit application has been deemed “administratively complete” by the MDEQ.

Several grassroots environmental organizations, including Save the Wild U.P. and the Front 40, with local property owners, have been deeply critical of the Back Forty proposal for years, contending that an open pit sulfide mine, with on-site processing and tailings, will pollute the adjacent Menominee River. Tribal natural resources, including archeological sites, are also threatened by any mining operation on the Menominee River, the largest watershed drainage system in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. According to the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, “our origin or creation begins at the mouth of the Menominee River.”

"With a watershed of over 4,000 square miles (4,070 square miles with 2,618 square miles located in Michigan and 1,452 square miles located in Wisconsin, according to the Environmental Protection Agency) and more than 100 tributaries, the Menominee is the U.P.’s largest river system. It supports large populations of smallmouth bass, walleye and northern pike, and provides spawning habitat for sturgeon. Nearby Shakey Lakes Savanna is one of the few intact savanna ecosystems left in the Upper Midwest, and supports rare prairie plants and abundant wildlife. Mounds, garden beds, and other remnants of an ancient Native American village are also clearly evident. Aquila Resources couldn't have chosen a worse place for a mine,” said Steve Garske, biologist and Save the Wild U.P. board member.

“I question the wisdom of digging an open pit mine on the edge of a river,” said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP’s executive director. “These metals are wrapped in an enormous amount of sulfides, so the risks to the U.P.’s clean water are real, unavoidable, and numerous.”

“In describing the Back Forty project, Aquila doesn’t mention the sulfides and pyrites in their rock. With a sulfide mine on a riverbank, acid mine drainage is a real threat. Aquila has no experience dealing with acid mine drainage. Back Forty would be their very first project, anywhere,” said Maxwell.

According to Ron Henriksen, spokesman for the Menominee River Front 40 environmental group, "This is not a done deal. Even though Aquila's permit was deemed ‘administratively complete’ by the MDEQ, the company must comply with Lake Township's ‘Mineral Extraction Ordinance’ and ‘Land Usage Permit.’ Front 40 will continue to do what is necessary to ensure that a metallic sulfide mine is not allowed to impact our rivers, lakes, groundwater and lands."

"As a long-time Lake Township landowner and taxpayer, I am concerned that a foreign company can come in and dictate, through, what appears to be a flawed permit process, what will happen to the area,” said Marla Tuinstra of Lake Township.

In opposing this sulfide mine proposal, Save the Wild U.P. cites numerous threats to the Menominee River watershed. “Aquila’s press release never mentioned the Menominee River. That’s a very bad sign. This project would literally undermine the Menominee River – first with an open pit mine, and later with an underground mine, with milling and tailings proposed for the site as well. Furthermore, cyanide will be used in the processing, exponentially increasing the risks. I applaud all of the citizens who are fighting the Back Forty project, and defending Michigan’s clean water,” said Kathleen Heideman, SWUP president.

“We still have the opportunity to help make "Pure Michigan" a reality, rather than just a catchy slogan,” said Jim Voss, a resident of Lake Township.

Public Opportunities To Get Involved

Public Notice
– Concerned citizens are asked to review the proposed Mine Permit Application, now available from the MDEQ website:

Public Meeting
– The MDEQ will hold a Public Meeting concerning Aquila’s Mine Permit Application. The meeting takes place on January 5, 2016, from 6 to 9 p.m. CST, at Stephenson High School, W526 Division Street in Stephenson, Michigan.

Public Comment Due February 2, 2016
– Concerned citizens and other interested persons are urged to submit written comments by mail or e-mail until 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Mail comments to MDEQ Back Forty Mine Comments, Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, Michigan, 49855; or by email to Joe Maki:

Public Forum
– Save the Wild U.P. and Front 40 will host
“Don’t Undermine the Menominee River!”
an informational forum reviewing the Back Forty sulfide mine proposal, and what’s at stake. The forum will take place on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Shiras Room of the Peter White Public Library in Marquette.

Save the Wild U.P. is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending clean water and wild places from the threat of sulfide mining, and to preserving the Upper Peninsula’s unique culture. For more information contact
or call (906) 662-9987. Get involved with SWUP’s work at
on Facebook at
or on Twitter

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