Wisconsin’s only national forest, the Chequamegon-Nicolet, is under attack. Aquila Resources, the same company behind the Back Forty mine on the Menominee River, has been granted a Metallic Mineral Exploration License by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The company wants to mine the Medford-Bend Copper/Gold Deposit in the the Chequamegon-NicoletNational Forest in Taylor County. This area is a Wisconsin natural treasure, featuring the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Even worse, the U.S. Forest Service is conducting a hydrogeology survey of the North Fork Yellow River watershed near the Bend ore deposit in Taylor County. The hydrogeology survey will be completed by May 1, 2021, with mine exploration drilling as early as June — laying the foundation for open-pit metallic sulfide mining in Wisconsin’s only national forest.
H.R. 803, Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, is currently being considered in Congress, where it has passed the House and is in Senate committee. While in the House, the bill was amended several times to protect national treasures in other states. Members of Congress from Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Virginia, and North Carolina all appended legislation to H.R. 803 that expressly protects their national forests, national heritage sites, scenic rivers, watersheds, and more from mining interests.
Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest should be on that list. Please ask Sen. Tammy Baldwin to introduce an amendment to H.R. 803, Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, that would protect the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest from mining.
The metallic sulfide mining being explored in Taylor County presents a clear and present danger to the ecosystems of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Toxic mine waste would be stored behind a “tailings dam” structure that has failed around the world – with disastrous results. A tailings dam collapse in Brazil was one of the most deadly environmental disasters in that country’s history, killing 270 people and poisoning the Paraopeba River for almost 200 miles.
We can’t let that happen here. Please tell Sen. Tammy Baldwin to protect Wisconsin’s only national forest from metallic sulfide mining. Our national treasures deserve just as much protection as those in other states.