As a side note, the Indian Law Clinic got to work on parts of this issue a few years back, and this article nicely encapsulates how complicated it is, and how dangerous the mine is.
The Michigan-based permitting process for the Back Forty mine has left the Wisconsin side of the river mostly on the sidelines, Cox said.
“When the EPA, the Army Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all take actions that are federal, they are obligated to consult with the tribe under laws such as the National Historic Preservation Act, the National American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act,” he said.
“(Michigan) gets to contend, ‘Nope, we’re the authority now, so we’re not obligated to do anything with you Indian nations — you independent, sovereign nations. We’ll send you a letter, let you know what we’re doing. But we won’t communicate with you directly.’ “
Cox questioned Michigan’s “strange-sounding process” of leaving so many things unresolved in the approved permit.
“You would think that, rather than try to conditionalize a permit to include all that’s required, you would just say, ‘We’re not going to issue this permit until all of these big things are addressed, like groundwater modeling,'” he said. “I guess in Michigan they don’t see it that way.”
Across the river, in Michigan’s Menominee County, the board of commissioners passed a resolution opposing the Back Forty mine back in 2017.
“It’s right on the river, 150 feet from the Menominee River,” board vice chairman William Cech said. “There’s never really been a successful sulfide mine without leaving a large stain on the landscape that they are digging in