TOWN OF PESHTIGO — The Town of Peshtigo’s resolution to oppose the Aquila Resources’ Back Forty Mine was met with a burst of applause and a collective sigh of relief at the meeting Tuesday night. 

Dale and Lea Jane Burie spoke up against the proposed metallic sulfide mine to be located near Stephenson. Ms. Burie said, “there has not been one successful sulfide mine, ever. There are three risk factors that no one has control over.” She listed the risk factors as human error, mechanical failure and an act of god. “The effects of a mine fail are so horrific that they should not be allowed anywhere,” she said. 

Dale Burie said that they were not against mining, but against the process. He talked about the Community Rights movement and urged the town council to to protect them. According to the Community Rights Movement web page, they define the movement as, “Community Rights work is a paradigm shift, a move away from unsustainable practices that harm communities, and a move towards local self-government. Community Rights include environmental rights, such as the right to clean air, pure water, and healthy soil; worker rights, such as the right to living wages and equal pay for equal work; rights of nature, such as the right of ecosystems to flourish and evolve; and democratic rights, such as the right of local community self-government, and the right to free and fair elections.”

Others spoke up against the mine citing the proposal of using an estimated 1.24 billion pounds of cyanide over the anticipated 16-year mine operation. Information provided by the Coalition to Save the Menominee River states that one pound of cyanide will kill 1,244 people. 

The town took a proactive stand with resolution No. 52018-1 which reads in part, “...Whereas, water being contaminated would cause economic losses including but not limited to reduction of values of property, loss of tourism revenue, as well as cost of cleaning up the water and are not factored into the permitting process, and Whereas the hazardous wastes generated by the mine would degrade water quality and presents risks to human health as well as to the environment in the surrounding area...” 

The town will forward the resolution to the governors of both Wisconsin and Michigan, Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Wisconsin legislators that represent Marinette County. The resolution is similar to Marinette County’s. 

Another hot topic, the well contamination by Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) formerly known as Tyco Fire Protection Products was revisited. Jim Cox and Chris Berhend, JCI representatives, provided an update on the long-term work plans that were approved by the DNR on April 27. 

Berhend said that the long-term well sampling of approximately 138 private wells was started last year and the second round has begun this spring. The second prong of the plan is the work that will be continued at the contamination site. Berhend said they have been working with project leaders and anticipate that the project will commence on May 29. He continued to explain the various steps that will be taken in the interests of transparency. “One, we will complete an assessment of the drainage ditches, testing the sediment and taking water samples,” he said. “Second is the installation of a temporary Vertical Aquifer Profile (VAP) bore for collection of water. Third is installation of long-term monitoring samples and fourth is collection of sediment at the site located at 2700 Industrial Parkway-the test field.”

Berhend said that additional information, along with the approved work plans, are available on the DNR website as well as The amended work plans that were approved by the board included a broader scope of testing and a specific time frame to be completed. 

Other items:

¦ Spring clean up is set for May 26 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

¦ A change to the community room use. There will now be a $50 charge to use the room. $25 will be returned after the event and the room has been checked by designated staff. 

¦ Gun club requested help with the water in the ditches. The board had already called the county for assistance.