MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Water Resources Division has asked Aquila Resources to respond to a large array of questions that arose from the recent comment period and public hearing regarding a wetlands permit application for the Back Forty Mine Project in Menominee County.

The questions attached to the letter sent to Aquila Friday from Kristi Wilson of the DEQ Water Resources Division’s Upper Peninsula District office stretch over 30 pages.

The response is due to the WDR by March 23, if the company wants the state agency to consider them while examining the criteria for the permit. The DEQ held a public comment period and public hearing for the wetlands permit application in January and February.

“The WRD heard testimony from 88 individuals during the hearing and received approximately 3,420 written comments. Since the close of the public comment period on February 2, 2018, the WRD has reviewed the submitted comments for consistency with the proposed project and synthesized applicable comments related to the regulatory and technical review. The WRD is providing you an opportunity to directly address comments that will be taken into consideration as part of the application review,” Wilson wrote to Barry Hildred, chief executive officer of Aquila Resources Inc.

She further explained that, “The attached comments are organized by subject and coordinated to sections of the application submission. Each comment, or synthesized comment, is displayed in grey italics and may be further clarified with a comment from the WRD pertaining to specific information that may address or further clarify the basis for the comment. The information provided in your responses to the public comments will be included as part of the regulatory and technical review for the proposed project. To have your responses taken into consideration for statutory permitting criteria on the proposed application, please submit your responses to the WRD no later than March 23, 2018.”

The questions cover a range of issues from where stormwater will discharge to why the permit doesn’t contain mention of a proposed power plant and whether a study is needed to determine whether there is enough non-acid generating waster rock to construct the embankment proposed by the company. There are questions about application language, such as the definition of “uplands wetlands” and what materials constitute “overburden,” as well as how much wetland area will be affected.

To see the full list of questions, people can visit the DNR website at