The DEQ has granted Kennecott the final permit for the Eagle Mine project on the Yellow Dog Plains, ignoring Judge Richard Patterson ruling that Eagle Rock be honored as a Native American sacred site.
Eartha Jane Melzer writes: http://michiganmessenger.com/33340/controversial-kennecott-mine-permits-okd-at-11th-hour
For further information, read article by Gabriel Caplett
Comments from Cynthia Pryor, YDWP Sulfide Mining Campaign Director, 360-2414
What just happened here? The DEQ, as party to a State of Michigan Administrative Contested Case process, just unilaterally bypassed both the legal process and Administrative Law Judge Patterson in making a sweeping declaration and finding of law. This sweeping “judgment” was made not by Judge Patterson, not by past DEQ Director Stephen Chester, not by the interim DEQ Director Jim Sygo, but by a Senior Policy Advisor within the DEQ. This was done as a final DEQ action on the matter - on the day before the DEQ was to be dissolved and the new DNRE Director was to take office.
How blatant can this be? This is the dramatic action of a DEQ that hopes as a last ditch effort to resolve the Kennecott issue and allow this mine on the Yellow Dog Plains – before their authority is superseded by a new agency. Delegation of DEQ Director ‘final decision’ on the matter, was given to Senior Policy Advisor Frank J. Ruswick, Jr. two weeks ago. There was no known correspondence from Judge Patterson to the DEQ, Kennecott or the petitioners during this time frame. But out of the blue, a day before DEQ dissolution, this DEQ policy advisor made a judgment, ruling and order granting Kennecott both a Part 632 mining permit and a ground water discharge permit AND vacating a remand order made by then Director Stephen Chester concerning Eagle Rock as a “place of worship”. A policy advisor of the DEQ became a Judge and a DEQ Director and has so ruled - and we must accept that?
This is an egregious act that now will absolutely require appeal to a higher court and should require an appeal to the new DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries and the Governor of this state. We should not sit by and accept such action as the accepted mode of “lawfulness” in this state.
Please call the office of the Governor and lodge your complaint: 517 373-3400 or 517 335-7858.
I would expect letters of protest by every environmental group in the state and we will certainly be writing the Governor. Her contact information is:
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services