2004: Petition to WDNR

In 2004, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC; Website Static Image), under the leadership of the late James Schlender, Sr.,  pressed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to take enforcement action against Flambeau Mining Company (FMC) for discharging pollutants into a tributary of the Flambeau River known as Stream C (the same tributary that was the subject of a 2012 Clean Water Act Lawsuit against FMC). The Commission represents 11 Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan who reserved hunting, fishing and gathering rights in various treaties with the United States government in the mid 1800’s. The Flambeau Mine site falls within the affected area, also known as “tribal ceded territory.”

Mr. Schlender stated in a September 29, 2004 letter to the Wisconsin DNR: “The Department should seek to ensure accountability as well as to provide deterrence against future violations not only by this Company but by others who may be in a position to pollute ceded territory waters.” Unfortunately, the DNR failed to act on Mr. Schlender’s request to pursue enforcement action against FMC and instead sent a letter to Mr. Schlender in which the Department denied FMC had violated any laws.