Dear Editor,

Mr. Conrad’s letter in the EagleHerald Jan. 22 demonstrates that the mining industry and Aquila are apparently threatened by an independent scientific review of the company’s mining plans. By the Natural Resource Development Association’s (NRDA) standards, anyone with scientific credibility who challenges the dubious claims and outrageous assertions of the mining industry is “anti-mining.” If Aquila and the NRDA cannot respond to the valid scientific objections made by independent technical consultants, they resort to name-calling and absurd accusations of “colluding” with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Since when is putting forward scientific information that relates to the enforcement of the Clean Water Act evidence of collusion? Opponents of the Eagle Mine and the Pebble Mine in Alaska hired Center for Science in Public Participation (CSP2) to determine whether the projects would have violated the Clean Water Act. If NRDA had its way, there would be no independent scientific review of mining permits. The NRDA has a hypocritical double standard regarding the mine permit. According to the NRDA, it is perfectly fine for Aquila to hire Foth Associates to present a biased and scientifically invalid assessment of the Back Forty project; but, if opponents of the project hire scientific experts to review Foth’s analysis, then the NRDA calls it “misleading.”

Conrad, it is you who are misleading the public about the status of Aquila’s mine permit. You need to educate yourself on the matter. Aquila’s final permits are still being reviewed by the MDEQ, and they cannot commence anything until they have met the many conditions attached to each of the four permits. The Wetland Permit alone has 28 single-spaced pages of conditions. NRDA says Aquila is committed to “clean mining.” If that were the case, why did they work so hard to repeal Wisconsin’s “Prove It First” law? This is not the behavior of a company that is concerned with clean mining.

This is a company and a lobbying organization that is threatened by a regulation that requires them to demonstrate where metallic sulfide mining has been done without polluting ground and surface waters. The press release only states that CSP2 will be doing an independent review; nowhere does it indicate that the results have been received. Let’s give the public a chance to learn the truth when the CSP2 report is made available to all.


Dale Burie