Freshwater Weekly 2/1/18

Posted on February 1, 2018 by

This week: help stop a Lake Michigan sulfide mine + Wisconsin factory requests 7 million gallons of Lake Michigan water per a day + rebuilding Great Lakes water infrastructure + more ways to make a difference.


Aquila Resources is developing an open pit gold-zinc sulfide mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 150 ft from the Menominee River—the U.P.’s largest river and a tributary of Lake Michigan. To build the mine, Aquila is requesting a permit to destroy valuable wetlands. We can’t let this happen.

We’ve written extensively in the past about the dangers of sulfide mines. There isn’t a single one in existence that hasn’t released toxic acid pollution into nearby waters. In the U.S. alone, metallic sulfide mining has contaminated over 12,000 miles of rivers and streams with sulfuric acid, arsenic, lead, mercury, and other toxic metals—threatening local water supplies and human health.

TAKE ACTION: The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments on the permit application through February 2. Tell them to deny the wetlands permit and save the Menominee River from potentially devastating pollution. Get guidance and submit comments on our blog.


Foxconn is the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, best known for making iPhones, and the state of Wisconsin recently made a $3 billion deal with the company to locate a new factory there. Now the company has submitted a request to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to pump 7 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan for use in manufacturing.

The factory itself faced strong opposition from environmentalists—including hundreds of Freshwater Future supporters like you, and the pumping request raises new concerns about the diversion of Great Lakes water to places outside the basin.

The DNR has 90 days to decide on the diversion request, and plans to hold a public hearing and solicit public comments. We’ll keep you updated on opportunities to weigh in!


This week, the governor of Michigan announced a proposal to rebuild Michigan’s water infrastructure. Unfortunately his plan is to invest only $110 million annually despite an estimated annual funding gap of more than $800 million per year. While fewer than 1 in 3 Flint homes have had their pipes replaced and tens of thousands of Detroit residents continue to suffer without access to water, Michigan’s “one tough nerd”—as the governor likes to describe himself—proposes to rebuild the state’s infrastructure with a plan that barely meets 14% of the annual need.

The president also announced his federal infrastructure plan, which provides little federal funding—especially for water infrastructure assistance—and relies on states and municipalities to shoulder the burden for much-needed infrastructure improvements.

We’ll be scrutinizing these infrastructure plans in the coming weeks, and we’ll keep you updated on opportunities to get involved.


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.