This group of environmental warriors first came together on Wednesday, February 15th 2017 about the Back Forty Mine. This JOSHUA table brought together members from the Ho-Chunk, Oneida, and Menominee tribe, as well as members of ally groups such as Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Indigenous Warrior Society (of WI), and River Alliance of Wisconsin, and JOSHUA member and partner congregation members. This group identified the need to educate the Greater Green Bay Area about the Back Forty Mine, and held a community forum called “Save Our Water” on Saturday, June 3rd 2017. After educating the public and JOSHUA congregations on this issue, this group was able to help unanimously pass the #nobackfortyresolution in Brown County, with the assistance from Brown County Supervisor Staush Gruszynski. Our group then traveled to Door County to work with leaders in the Door County Area to organize the passing the #nobackfortyresolution in Door County.Our group decided that there is too much work to do around environmental justice in Brown County, to just disband after accomplishing our goals with the Back Forty Mine. We decided to take some action on a statewide issue, the Prove it First mining law. We co-hosted a public forum with Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters and River Alliance of Wisconsin featuring guest speakers, Al Gedicks (Wisconsin Resource Protection Council), Seth Hoffmeister (Northeast Organizer for Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters), Allison Werner (River Alliance of Wisconsin), and Brother Steve Herro (St Norbert Abbey). We had over twenty community members attend to learn about and take action on the issue. This brought several new members to our table.
In September, our task force had a presentation from the Citizen Climate Lobby, which was very educational. After a lively discussion, our task force will be decipher a new local environmental justice issue to cut and bring action around. Our Environmental Justice Task Force has brought many new community leaders around the table that are now a key leader within this task force. As well as bringing new leaders to the table, many of the leaders from our Environmental Justice Task Force participated in our one-day leadership training, and are now working to build this task force further.
We are currently working on a local issue in our community, a Sustainability Commission for the City of Green Bay. This campaign seeks to urge the City of Green Bay to create an Advisory Commission on Sustainability to explore sustainability initiatives that can be implemented in Green Bay. Because state and national institutions are unresponsive to sustainability issues, particularly related to climate change and energy, local governments have both an opportunity and imperative to step up and implement grassroots solutions that will allow our communities to do our part to mitigate climate change. Many cities throughout the nation and Wisconsin have made strides in the past decade, but Green Bay is not one of them. In order to fully realize the potential our city can have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and provide a more sustainable, livable, and healthy community, a collaborative space needs to be established to realize our options. Click here to view the one pager.
We remain up for the challenge… will you join us? Are you up for the challenge? Join us the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6pm at West Side Moravian Church. You can contact us for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prove It First Mining Law Summery –
For 20 years, Wisconsin’s waters, public lands, and wildlife have been protected by the “Prove It First” mining law. That law requires mining companies to provide specific proof a sulfide mine can run for 10 years and be closed for 10 years without polluting groundwater and surface waters with acid drainage. In 20 years, no mining company has provided the proof!
Back Forty Mine Quick Facts –
-Aquila Resources wants to develop an open pit (2000ft wide x 750ft deep) a massive gold, zinc, and sulfide mine 150ft from the Menominee River Which forms the boundary between Wisconsin and Michigan.
-The Menominee River is the largest river system in the Upper Peninsula with a 4000 sq mile drainage system.
– The Menominee River is culturally significant as a major prehistoric travel corridor for indigenous peoples and the source of Creation for the Menominee Indian Tribe.
– The Menominee River watershed supports sturgeon spawning, strong populations of small mouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and trout.
-Dewatering the mine pit can lower ground water levels around the mine harming the Shakey Lakes Savanna, a 1520 acre natural are, part of the Escanaba state forest.
-Metallic sulfide mines in the United States will pollute up to 27 million gallons of fresh water per year. The main reason is acid mine drainage which occurs when mineral deposits containing sulfides are exposed to the air and water during excavation.
-The mine poses a major threat to the Menominee Indian Tribe’s cultural resources, 22 of there known cultural sites are within the project area. Including Burial mounds, prehistoric garden beds and prehistoric village sites.
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