Federal court rejects challenge to Back Forty's wetland permit

Federal court rejects Menominee Tribe’s challenge to Back Forty's wetland permit

On December 19, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin dismissed the Menominee Indian Tribe’s federal lawsuit challenging EPA and U.S. Army Corps’ failure to exercise jurisdiction over Aquila’s wetland permit for the Back Forty Mine. The Court dismissed the two claims in the Tribe’s original complaint and rejected the Tribe’s motion to file an amended complaint that proposed two additional claims because the amendments would be pointless.

The Court held that the Tribe could not challenge the federal government’s refusal to exercise jurisdiction over the state wetland permit under the Administrative Procedures Act or the Clean Water Act.

Click here for Aquila's original press release.


GREEN BAY — The federal government has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Menominee Indian Tribe regarding the proposed Back Forty Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to WLUK-TV Green Bay.

Aquila Resources wants to operate a gold, zinc, and copper mine in Menominee County. The state has issued three of the permits for the project, with the fourth currently under review.

The tribe filed suit in January, seeking to force the federal government to step into the process.

But in the 24-page response filed Friday, the federal government noted that on March 8, the EPA filed an objection to Aquila’s project as proposed — therefore making the lawsuit a moot point. The federal government also says the tribe’s lawsuit was filed too soon.

“There has been no final decision as to whether the Mine should be issued a permit, and additional administrative review is necessary before this question will be answered. Requiring the Tribe to wait until the conclusion of these proceedings before securing judicial review does not result in any harm to the Tribe, because the burdens of the administrative process on the Tribe are not a cognizable hardship. Moreover, further proceedings may entirely moot the need for litigation,” the Department of Justice argued.

No court dates have been scheduled.

Source: EagleHerald