Dear Editor,

Life, as we know it, requires water. Water is essential for all land, sky and aquatic life. Sixty to 78% of our bodies are water, and we still need to drink it. We love water recreation too, and our tourism economy depends on it.

From fields and wells in Peshtigo, to Menominee’s water supply, we’re already being poisoned with the PFAS “forever” toxins. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows PFAS cause problems: reproductive and developmental (think birth defects), liver, kidney, thyroid, immune system, high cholesterol, tumors and cancer. For everyone touched by these health effects, including suffering and death of loved ones, my heart goes out to you. Others have seen their livelihood, property and water systems devalued. My thoughts are with you too. Alas, we cannot unring this bell.

What we can do is act to improve our current situation. Start with educating yourself on both water issues. Reward yourself with knowledge. Reward neighbors and families with support and active protection from catastrophic contamination of our water. Attend our meetings.

Reward yourself: take action to prevent intentional poisoning of our water and recreation/tourism.

Something very simple you can do is call, send a letter, or email all the local elected officials, on both sides of the River here, in Lansing and Madison, and in Washington, DC. Simply say: “I want you to save the Menominee River and our groundwater from acid mine drainage. Since 100% of sulfide-mineral mines pollute, I want you to prevent the contamination by preventing the proposed Back Forty Mine.”

No, following Michigan laws will not prevent this toxic pollution. Sulfide becomes sulfuric acid in contact with air or water. If this mine operates, it will pollute.

Michigan taxpayers need to include: “We taxpayers paid for River Road. We taxpayers do not agree to give/sell/trade any part of it for the proposed mine. We do not want any sulfide mining in our watershed.”

Voters need to tell their elected officials: “My vote depends on you saving our watershed from the threat of mining. We elect people to represent us, not to poison us or sell us out.” Say it and mean it.

Your local librarian can help you find each name and contact information for your elected officials. You can find this simple, sample letter on the Save the Menominee River Facebook page to copy and send to the officials. Include your name and zip code for your specific officials, so they see you can or won’t vote for them.

When this is over, and we have Saved the Menominee River watershed, we can reward ourselves with celebrating in non-acid mine drainage-poisoned water.


Natalie Lashmet