Letters to the Kewaunee County Star-News: Feb. 17
County Board should OK resolution opposing Back 40 mine
It is extremely embarrassing for Kewaunee County residents, when throughout the country our claim to fame is bad water, tons of manure, and contaminated wells. Kewaunee County Board members should be alert to any and all possible threats to a clean water supply.
And, to add to the embarrassment, we remain the only county bordering Green Bay and Lake Michigan that has not sent a resolution opposing the proposed Canadian Back 40 Mine in Michigan. This would be metals mining, creating an 800-foot-deep crater just a few hundred feet from the banks of the Menominee River. This is a beautiful, powerful, unimpaired river; a great fishery and recreational lure, and it empties into Green Bay and Lake Michigan.
The case for potential pollution of sulfide remnants into the river from this mine is at the heart of the opposition.
The resolution appeared on the December Personnel Committee agenda and was somewhat discussed but tabled or dismissed. One reason: that this mine was in Michigan. Kewaunee County is not isolated. We have connected neighbors and connection includes Michigan.
If Kewaunee County Board’s No. 1 priority is to work for clean water, the board members should agree with our bordering, neighboring counties and make sure this resolution appears on the March County Board meeting to be discussed and voted upon. County residents should question their representatives.
Fears of marine sanctuary not based in fact
Your story “Lakeshore landowners wary of marine sanctuary” helped clarify the intent and limitations of the proposed Lake Michigan Marine Sanctuary.
The well-researched article highlighted the fact that the U.S. regulations authorizing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to manage fisheries along the ocean coastal areas of the U.S. do not apply to the waters of the Great Lakes. The states will continue to manage the Great Lakes fisheries and govern the landowner riparian rights. In short, the major concerns being cited in opposition to a U.S. Marine Sanctuary are not based in fact.
What is a fact is that the proposed Lake Michigan Marine Sanctuary has tremendous support. Hundreds of residents attended informational meetings held in each of the lakeshore counties that would be part of the proposed sanctuary.
In addition, there has been strong bipartisan support from public officials at all levels. U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, Gov. Scott Walker, Congressman Mike Gallagher, city mayors, and county boards have all publicly supported the establishment of the proposed sanctuary. Why? Because our citizens and public officials recognize that a U.S. Marine Sanctuary will bring worldwide attention to our area and not just for the beautifully preserved dive sites.
While the dive sites are important, so is the opportunity to showcase our area to visitors from around the world. Increased tourism spending and new development are strong potential benefits of a sanctuary designation. The promise of a Lake Michigan Marine Sanctuary clearly outweighs the concerns that have been brought forward.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Letters to the Kewaunee County Star-News: Feb. 17