After Aquila’s decision not to appeal the denial of their wetlands permit they reaffirmed plans to submit a new mining permit application that will include both the open pit and underground mine plans. To minimize the cost and delay of submitting completely new mining, wetlands, air quality, wastewater discharge and dam safety permit applications, the company would like to submit a consolidated mining permit that would “compress the timeline to permit issuances.” This would place an unfair financial burden on citizens and the Menominee Tribe to review the thousands of pages of technical studies in a short time period. A sequential permit process that allows adequate time for scientific review of each permit, as has been the case in the past, would allow for greater public participation and transparency in the process.
The expansion of the scope of the mine operation means that every aspect of the project has the potential for significant and unacceptable impacts to the wetlands, air and water quality, groundwater, sacred sites and the safety of the enormous quantity and toxicity of the mine waste in the tailings dam. The mine expansion will increase the amount of mine waste in the dangerously unstable upstream construction design of the tailings dam.
Aquila’s assertion that an expanded mine operation will avoid direct impacts to wetlands is scientific nonsense. These issues cannot be addressed in a rushed and haphazard manner to accommodate Aquila’s promises to its investors.
Wisconsin Resources Protection Council Executive Secretary