Freep Article on Back 40 Mine

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

IPR on the W. Great Lakes Salmon Fishery


The intro:

Managers of salmon in Lake Michigan must soon decide how many fish to put into the lake each year. The salmon fishery is a man-made industry in the Great Lakes, produced by planting millions and millions of fish in the lakes. Keeping the salmon population in balance with the food supply is a challenge these days. Some scientists are raising new questions about the salmon’s demise in Lake Huron and whether it can be stopped in Lake Michigan.

Asian Carp Caught Beyond Chicago’s Barriers

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

CHICAGO — An Asian carp was found for the first time beyond electric barriers meant to keep the voracious invasive species out of the Great Lakes, state and federal officials said Wednesday, prompting renewed calls for swift action to block their advance.

Commercial fishermen landed the 3-foot-long, 20-pound bighead carp in Lake Calumet on Chicago’s South Side, about six miles from Lake Michigan, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.

Officials said they need more information to determine the significance of the find.

“The threat to the Great Lakes depends on how many have access to the lakes, which depends on how many are in the Chicago waterway right now,” said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

But environmental groups said the discovery leaves no doubt that other Asian carp have breached barriers designed to prevent them from migrating from the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes and proves the government needs to act faster.

“If the capture of this live fish doesn’t confirm the urgency of this problem, nothing will,” said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office.

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Asian Carp Op/Ed from GTB Chair Derek Bailey

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Three decades ago many thought that the Great Lakes fisheries resources would be ruined by American Indian tribes exercising “treaty-fishing” rights. After the federal courts confirmed these treaty-reserved rights, the tribes demonstrated their primary concern is protection of the Great Lakes fisheries.

Ironically, these “treaty-fishing” rights now might prove crucial in protecting fisheries resources for all of Michigan’s citizens against the Asian carp invasion.

The United States Supreme Court has denied Michigan’s request for an injunction closing the shipping locks outside of Chicago to prevent any further migration of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. In the midst of the competing claims debating the economic losses of closing shipping to the Mississippi River system compared to potential harm to Great Lakes fisheries, all parties — Attorney General Cox, Gov. Granholm, the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies — agree that the damage to the Great Lakes fisheries will be profound.

It has been almost six years since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that “Asian carp could have a devastating effect on the Great Lakes ecosystem and a significant impact on the $7 billion fishery.” During this time the Army Corps of Engineers failed to act promptly, in effect fiddling while Rome burned. To the extent the Army Corps is responsible for the impending disaster, the tribes may be better situated than the state to challenge the federal government.

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Michigan Messenger on EPA’s Draft Asian Carp Strategy

From MM:

A $78.5 million dollar federal plan to keep Asian carp from becoming established in the Great Lakes is drawing criticism from diverse groups that say the proposed temporary closure of the locks in Chicago area canals will disrupt the economy without stopping the spread of aquatic invaders.

The Chicago canal system that connects the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes basin conveys much of the Chicago region’s petroleum, coal, road salt, cement, and iron, according to federal officials, along with 15,000 recreational boats and 900,000 passengers that travel through the locks on the system each year.

Photo via Flickr: kate.gardiner

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House Transportation Committee Hearing Video and Testimony on Asian Carp

Asian Carp and the Great Lakes

Purpose of the Hearing

The Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment met on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, at 2:00 p.m., in room 2167 of the Rayburn House Office Building to receive testimony on the issue of preventing the induction of the aquatic invasive species, the Asian carp, into the Great Lakes.

Full Summary of Subject Matter

Video of the Hearing

Written Testimony:

Mr. Cameron Davis
Major General John W. Peabody
Mr. John Rogner
Ms. Rebecca Humphries
Mr. Matt Frank
Prof. David Lodge
Dr. Michael Hansen
Mr. Del Wilkins
Mr. Joel Brammeier

WSJ Article on Asian Carp Issue

From the WSJ via How Appealing:


More than a century ago, this city reversed the flow of its eponymous river, connecting the Great Lakes with the Gulf of Mexico and defining itself as the can-do capital of the American heartland.

Today, that engineering feat is coming under growing scrutiny, as scientists and politicians intensify their battle against a voracious flying fish that has been traveling up the Mississippi for 20 years. Amid signs that Asian carp have breached the last defensive barrier, calls are mounting for a massive do-over.

“We know these barriers aren’t working,” said Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the lead author of a 2008 report that laid out how this project might look. “An ecological separation is the only permanent solution.”

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Additional News Coverage of Asian Carp Debacle

From How Appealing:

“Asian carp DNA found in Lake Michigan; High Court inaction angers Mich. leaders”:The Detroit News has an update that begins, “On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not take immediate action to prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan, DNA samples indicate the fish may already be there.”

The Detroit Free Press has a news update headlined “Granholm: White House summit about carp needed.”

The Chicago Tribune has a news update headlined “Army Corps: Asian carp DNA found in Lake Michigan.”

And James Vicini of Reuters reports that “Michigan request denied in Great Lakes carp case; High court won’t order closing of two Chicago-area locks; Federal government said Michigan was unlikely to prevail; Closing locks would hurt shippers.”

Possible Michigan Suit against Illinois re: Asian Carp

From the Freep via How Appealing:

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox plans to file a federal lawsuit, possibly in the U.S. Supreme Court, as soon as the paperwork is done to try to shut down canal locks leading to Lake Michigan, through which Asian carp could escape into the Great Lakes.

“Our attorneys are working on it as we speak” and will continue through the weekend, Cox spokesman John Sellek said Saturday.

The legal action is to be filed in federal court, but Sellek couldn’t give a precise timetable. It also could be filed directly in the U.S. Supreme Court or under a decades-old federal case concerning the diversion of water from the Great Lakes through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. In 1925, the federal government challenged Chicago’s right to divert water from the Great Lakes, through the canal, without consulting its neighbors, including Canada. Several Great Lakes states, including Michigan, also filed lawsuits arguing that the water diversion through the canal could lead to economic losses.

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