Dear Editor,

Brumadinho, Brazil again? Why? It is still about water.

One year ago (with 21st-century mining technology — exactly the type Aquila is proposing here) a mining tailings dam collapsed (like one does world-wide roughly every 8 months) dumping millions of tons of toxic sludge killing 270 people. In its path, the surrounding forest, nearby towns and waters were destroyed.

Now Brumadinho’s torrential downpours caused floods and landslides so bad that a state of emergency was called in over 100 cities and towns. Seven inches of rain fell there in one day. Floodwaters and rushing rivers swept up cars, buildings and people. Madison, Milwaukee and Houston recently suffered floods, partially from worse storms, rising waters, and fewer wetlands to sop up flows. What is happening elsewhere can happen here too. Let’s prevent this tragic, toxic destruction before Aquila starts it here.

No matter what the reason for climate change is, we cannot deny that our weather has become more extreme and irregular. January 2020’s temperature data from Menominee’s weather station reveals a high of 43 degrees and a low of -2 including 18 days at or above freezing. (https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/menominee/historic?month=1&year=2020 ) How many U.P. Januaries do you remember with over half the days above freezing?

Lake Michigan’s water level is from 4 to 27 inches higher this year than January 31, 2019. (www.lre.usace.army.mil)

There are no local benefits for the proposed mine. People here will not get miners jobs. Aquila’s CEO on video said they will hire the unemployed miners from around Marquette County. There really is no net gain when a mine operates. We all know what happens when men detached from their families and making money spend their hours off. The local increase in prostitution, human trafficking, drug use and violence, with the associated added law enforcement costs, is well documented in these conditions. In fact, we’ll be left with more problems, the toxic water and the clean-up costs. Copper sulfide mines are the largest source of taxpayer liability under the EPA’s Superfund cleanup program (Nationwide Identification of Hardrock Mining Sites, Report 2004-P-00005, EPA Office of Inspector General, 3/31/2004). We don’t want that here. Mining on the edge of our river is simply too dangerous.

We the people have the power to prevent this mine from operating. 93% of Menominee County voters are not in favor of this mine. We also have the support of at least: 23 towns, counties, Tribes, etc., and more than 20 tribal, environmental, sportfishing and faith organizations. Get involved, young or not, we can each do a very small thing to help. Let’s work together to Save the Menominee River area.

 

Natalie Lashmet

Menominee