STEPHENSON, Mich. (WLUC) - A community came together Wednesday night to stand behind members of the Native American Menominee tribe. The crowd asking the Department of Environmental Quality to reconsider a proposed mine on the tribes ancestral homeland.
"I’m concerned you do not address the Menominee nation's numerous sacred sites and burial mounds up and down the Menominee River,” Jody Korich, representing the Coalition to Save the Menominee River, said to the board. “This is their place of origin. How would you like it if somebody disturbed your ancestral burial sites?"
Many were also concerned about the effect the mine would have on the environment being so close to the Menominee River.
"Placing a mine on a river nestled between two of the top five largest freshwater lakes in the world is the most wasteful, stupid, immoral action you can take as a department protecting environmental quality,” Crystal Chapman – Chevalier, the Secretary of the Menominee nation, said.
Aquila Resources is the company proposing the mine. They say their new amendment is better for the environment than one they've proposed before.
The company released a statement saying in part; "Aspects of the amendment include a reduction in wetland impact, improved dust management, increased water storage capacity, and reduced footprint of tailings facilities post-closure. We will continue to work with the DEQ and others to support the permitting process."
Those opposed made it clear this not a fight they were going to give up easily.
"Take a look around at the growing opposition to your mine,” Korich continued. “We are growing in number. We are very determined to stop your mine. We are not going to back down until you go away."
MDEQ will also accept written comments regarding the amendment through Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. Mail your comments to Back Forty Mining Permit Amendment, MDEQ-OGMD, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI 49855. E-mail your comments to the designated MDEQ mailbox at DEQ-Mining-Comments@michigan.gov, including “Back Forty Mining Permit Amendment” as the subject. The MDEQ will only consider comments that pertain to the Mining Permit Amendment Application prior to making a final decision. For additional information, contact Melanie Humphrey, MDEQ, Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division, 906-250-7564, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.