FEDS OBJECT TO MINE WETLAND’S PERMIT
The federal government has weighed in on Aquila Resources application for a Wetlands Protection permit for the Back 40 Mine project. A letter filed by the EPA region 5 office in Chicago with the Michigan DEQ, details concerns by the US Army Corp of Engineers and U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service. The letter constitutes a federal objection to the issuance of a permit for this project and the MDEQ has 90 days from the date of the letter to work with the applicant to resolve the issues raised above or deny the permit. The letter says Aquila’s responses to MDEQ requests for additional information in letters dated January 19, 2018, and March 2, 2018 should significantly clarify the federal government’s outstanding concerns regarding the application. Aquila filed a response to the January 19th letter last Thursday. The deadline for responding to the March 2nd letter is March 23rd.
Among the Federal concerns:
- The applicant has not provided a complete description of the project, including a final site
plan identifying the final location of key project features, including storm water and
waste management features.
- The mine pit is located next to a bluff above the Menominee River and the application
currently lacks information that would allow the reviewing agencies to ensure mine pit
integrity with respect to the boundary of the river and associated flood plain.
- The application states that the project will not adversely affect water quality of the
Menominee River but does not explain how the project will be managed to ensure
discharges will meet water quality standards.
- The application lacks information on the wetlands that will be affected by the proposed
project’s Menominee River drawdown of some 125,000 gallons per day.
- The application does not contain adequate support for the applicant’s determination that
offsite upland alternatives for tailings storage are not practicable.