STEPHENSON, Mich. July 2, 2018 –Recently, a series of bills that improve transparency and the DEQ rule-making process have become law. These bills enable fact and science, rather than personal opinion, dictate permit decisions.

Senate Bills 652-654 create three independent bodies with a diverse range of topic experts. The goal of the bills is to provide a further review of permitting processes and decisions and advise on issues safeguarding the environment. Senate Bill 839 focuses on the permit amendment process.

SB 652 reestablishes an Environmental Science Advisory Board to hear scientific evidence and provide a recommendation to the governor.

SB 653 creates an 11-member stakeholder committee to review, amend, deny and approve DEQ rule notifiction.

SB 654 establishes an appeals board that, upon request, would serve as a scientific permit review panel to hear an appeal by a permit application that has been denied by the DEQ.

SB 839 clarifies the process for addressing changes in a mining permit, and allows for punctual action on changes where minimal to no adverse environmental impacts would result.

You can read a legislative analysis for SB 652-654 by clicking here.

For more information on SB 839, including the process for the new law, click here.

If you have questions about this topic or anything else, please contact us.


STEPHENSON, Mich. June 19, 2018 – Last evening, the Menominee City Council defeated a resolution opposing the Back Forty Mine with a 3-6 vote. You'll see a story on the meeting in today's Eagle Herald.

During the meeting Council member Frank Pohlmann said that the group had asked Aquila questions, but the questions were either unanswered or discouraging. “We are dealing with a company that is not trustworthy,” Pohlmann said.

Back in March, we responded to the Council's questions, which you'll find below.

  • The economic impact to the local taxing district, county and state.
    • In a typical year, it is estimated that we will pay roughly $9 million to the federal government and $11 million will go to state and local governments.
    • Lake Township will receive approximately $5 million per year from the MI Severance Tax that is paid by Aquila Resources. The Severance Tax equates to 2.75% of the taxable metal value, which is subject to market conditions. What this means is that these numbers will go up or down depending on the average metal price during any given year.
    • Besides monetary benefits the project will provide several hundred construction jobs and more than 240 permanent, direct jobs with an annual payroll of approximately $9.5 million. Outside of mining we estimate the project will add another 100 indirect jobs in the community.
  • Provide the logistic plan for deliver to and from the Mine operations.
    • As our mining permit states, we will use existing roads.
  • Provide all the contributions to local organizations, nonprofit, schools, governments, etc.
    • We have been providing contributions and sponsorships to the community for more than a decade. Due to changes in ownership over the years we do not have a complete record of giving. However, examples of our contributions include the Menominee Waterfront Festival, Mid County Rescue Squad, UP Whitetails Association, Marinette Menominee Area Chamber, Menominee Business Development Corp, Menominee Legion Baseball, Menominee Downtown Business Association, Menominee County Fair, and Menominee County Library. In addition, we’re continuing our high school senior scholarship program, which over the years has awarded nearly $40,000 to graduating seniors in Menominee County.

Our goal is to be open and transparent in our development of the Back Forty Mine. We would like to work with community members and local government as we move forward with our project.

If you have questions about the Back Forty Mine, please contact us.