Aquila Resources says it will appeal the January 4th decision by an Administrative Law Judge denying the prior issuance of a Wetlands Permit for the Back Forty Mine Project in Menominee County. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy or EGLE issued the Wetlands Permit in June 2018. The permit was issued with specific conditions to be satisfied before construction could commence, including that EGLE accept an updated groundwater model, which is planned for submission this year. The Judge found that the statute required Aquila to provide all of the information before a permit could be issued. Aquila says It has always been the Company’s intention to satisfy the original Wetlands Permit conditions and has made significant progress over the last two years in this respect. In parallel with its appeal, Aquila will continue to work closely with EGLE to reach consensus on the groundwater model. Once EGLE has accepted the Company’s model, EGLE will be in a position to evaluate a revised permit application and reissue the Wetlands Permit.
Aquila has appealed the Judge’s decision to the EGLE environmental review panel. EGLE will convene a three-person panel of experts with relevant experience within 45 days. The Panel will then hear arguments and is expected to render a decision later in 2021. The Panel has the authority to adopt, remand, modify, or reverse, in whole or in part, the Judge’s decision. The decision of the Panel will become the final decision of EGLE.
While the appeal is in process, the Company requested, and has been granted, a stay of proceedings of the contested case related to their amended Mining Permit.