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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.

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