Dear Editor,

A year ago a tailings dam in Brazil, which is exactly the same design that Aquila will be using, failed and collapsed and resulted in the death of over 250 people. The sad part is that this wasn’t the first time such a thing has happened in Brazil. It also happened in November of 2015, a tailings dam burst and killed 19 individuals. One would think the first time it happened, that the country would take measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but no, fast forward to January 2019, it happened again at another site. The mine is still in operation today and the mining company claimed that the structure provided inadequate drainage and couldn’t handle the high water levels. It is easy for us to brush it off as if Brazil is an apathetic country that does not care about its people.

The problem is that right in our back yard they are planning on mining using the exact same design as Brazil. We all know that we have definite excessive water issues lately, the same issue that caused the collapse of the tailings dam in Brazil. There are no new latest greatest techniques that are going to be applied to the Back 40 like they want you to believe. It turns out that our country is just as apathetic as Brazil. No measure has been taken to stop this mine in its tracks to make sure that such an environmental disaster doesn’t happen here.

There is one thing that has happened that should make us pay really close attention now. Brazil has charged Fabio Schvartsman, the former chief executive of the company, with homicide. Some of the other former employees that were released after the incident were named in the suit also. If Aquila has any type of scruples or common sense, they would look at this environmental disaster and say, no, this is not worth people’s lives and ending up in prison for being responsible for such a devastating event. Any responsible person would know that this is not worth the risk. Our elected officials should take measures to assure our safety of our lives and our environment.

Do you want to know how you may make a difference? Look up the website for “Coalition to Save the Menominee River.”


Sally Draze