Group files lawsuits to stop Back Forty Mine


    Test drilling work being done at the Back Forty mine project in Menominee Co., Michigan. (Undated photo courtesy Aquila Resources.)

    GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) -- A group known as the “Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River” filed suit against the two federal agencies, seeking to stop a planned mine for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

    Aquila Resources wants to operate a gold, zinc and copper mine in Menominee County, Michigan. It has received state permits for the Back Forty Mine, although one is still pending, while this lawsuit takes aim at the federal process.

    The suit, filed Tuesday, names the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the defendants.

    “The Coalition seeks review under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) of two federal agency determinations related to the Mine’s wetland permit application. First, Defendants determined that Michigan has permitting authority despite evidence of the Back Forty Mine’s impacts to the Menominee River and Wisconsin. Second, even if that determination were correct, the agencies’ decisions to withdraw their objections to the Back Forty permit were arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with applicable law,” the suit claims.

    The federal government has not formally responded to the suit, and no hearings have been scheduled. When asked for comment, the Justice Department only said it is reviewing the complaint and that it would have no further comment.

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