A call for Rep. LaFave to fight Back 40 mine


I am writing this letter so that everyone may become informed about the Back 40 Open-Pit Sulfide Mine and how, if allowed to proceed, it could destroy our way of life forever and the Great Lakes freshwater ecosystem should a disaster occur. I, like many others, am very concerned about the potential for horrific damage and danger that the Back 40 Open-Pit Sulfide Mine poses to our region if allowed to operate in the wetland areas, just 50 yards from the banks of the Menominee River, in Lake Township.

We in Menominee County have also noticed there is an urgency up in your county for clear information on the proposed mine. We hope that Delta and Dickinson counties will join forces and will stand alongside us here in Menominee County, as have just about every Wisconsin county up and down the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, and all of the inland counties that have taken a stand and have drawn up a resolution in opposition.

The Menominee Nation’s sacred sites and other cultural resources are contained within the footprint of the Back 40 Mine area that would be excavated. We cannot allow this to happen.

We must not allow others, namely Aquila Resources, a foreign mining company from Canada, and their various joint venture partners to come in and make false promises to us by way of “social license:” minimal job numbers that are spread out over four counties and an economic boom that has failed to produce any evidence of a thriving economy except to the investors and then leave the environment in a shambles.

We owe Mother Nature that debt of gratitude to protect these wetlands from the destruction of corporate greed, and we owe it to the future of humanity.

Last week, I attended the two-hour “Coffee Hour” at the Stephenson Public Library with state Rep. Beau LaFave. Several local property owners in the vicinity of the proposed mine asked questions of Mr. LaFave hoping he, as the state representative, would be willing to help the property owners, his constituents, to stop the mine from happening. It soon became evident that the property owners did not feel much “representation” coming their way from LaFave when he stated he was neither “for or against the mine” several times.

Rep. LaFave also was “sure” that a property owner’s well water would not be affected by the acid mine drainage from the sulfide mining process.

I would like my State Representative to brush up on the subject of sulfide mining and acid mine drainage. While I am not trying to be disrespectful, I do feel that Mr. LaFave gets paid a rather handsome salary of $71,685 a year, plus a per diem pay of almost $11,000 per year and mileage, to represent his constituents. I, for one, would like to see him earn his money on this extremely important matter.

Rep. LaFave did mention that his No. 1 job priority was to “curb high Michigan car insurance prices.” I have been paying high insurance prices for years and am willing to let it go for a little while longer to save the Menominee River.

Lori Paitl