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.


STEPHENSON, Mich. Jan. 23, 2017 – Aquila Resources appreciates the community’s interest and feedback on our permitting efforts, as well as the hard work undertaken by our team on the wetland application. We’re confident the application minimizes total wetland impact and protects the environment.

It’s important to note that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has delegated permitting authority to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (“MDEQ”). Michigan has maintained this designation by administering laws and regulations that remain consistent with the Clean Water Act (CWA). The state has been conducting a thorough review of the wetland permit application for more than two years, during which time the EPA has been involved and providing input. We look forward to regulatory approval of the application during the first half of 2018. This is the fourth and final permit required to build and operate the Back Forty Mine.