In victory at Crandon, lessons for a new proposal | Al Gedicks and Dave Blouin

Oct. 9, 2013

The end of this month, Oct. 28, marks the 10th anniversary of the historic victory over the controversial Crandon mine project adjacent to the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa Reservation.

Veterans of that 28-year (1975-2003) battle against the Crandon metallic sulfide mine will gather on the Mole Lake Reservation on Oct. 26 to commemorate the grass-roots environmental, sportfishing and tribal victory over the world’s largest energy company (Exxon) and the world’s largest mining company (BHP Billiton).

Situated at the headwaters of the Wolf River, the proposed underground shaft mine was one mile upstream from the tribe’s wild rice beds, five miles from the Forest County Potawatomi Reservation, and 40 miles (via the Wolf River) upstream of the Menominee Nation. The mine would have destroyed Mole Lake’s wild rice beds and threatened the tourism industry downstream on the Wolf River.

In the end, the Mole Lake Chippewa and the Forest County Potawatomi tribes purchased and divided the 5,000-acre Crandon mine property for $16.5 million. Mole Lake acquired the Nicolet Minerals Co., and quickly dropped mine permit applications. The land is now managed as a conservation area devoted to sustainable land-management practices, tribal cultural values and tourism suitable to this environmentally sensitive area.

The international mining industry was shocked when a broad multiracial, rural-based grassroots alliance defeated the world’s largest mining corporation. How could such a movement overcome the superior financial resources, and political access to decision-makers in the Wisconsin Legislature, governor’s office and the Department of Natural Resources?

Dale Alberts, president of Nicolet Minerals, a subsidiary of BHP Billliton, acknowledged that “a major problem in the beginning was the company did a poor job communicating to the local people. Environmental groups got out ahead and frightened people.”

But what really frightened people was the prospect of acidic mine waste piles 90 feet deep and covering 355 acres at the headwaters of the pristine Wolf. Native and non-Native groups mistrusted the DNR to defend their rights and found that tribal environmental regulations were stronger than state laws in protecting the Wolf River’s tourism economy.

After the Crandon defeat, the mining industry urgently discussed the need for a “social license to operate” where the mining companies work to win broad social support for their extractive activities. The failure to obtain such a social license raises the political and financial risks of a project and can often lead to the defeat of a mining project by widespread community opposition.

This is exactly what happened at Crandon and what is now taking place in the Bad River watershed where Gogebic Taconite has proposed a mountaintop removal operation to create the largest open pit iron mine in the world upstream from the largest remaining wild rice wetland in the entire Great Lakes basin on the Bad River Ojibwe Reservation.

GTac has followed Exxon’s strategy by using its financial and political power with the governor and the Legislature to write its own mining law, severely limiting citizen and tribal participation in the permitting process, and militarizing the mine site by deploying masked security guards with automatic weapons to intimidate the public.

The most recent public opinion survey from the University of Wisconsin-Superior shows that nearly two-thirds of the people in a random poll in Iron and Ashland counties oppose the mine project.

From the perspective of the mining industry’s own standards for a viable mine project, this project is dead in the water.

Al Gedicks of La Crosse is executive secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council. Dave Blouin of Madison is the Mining Committee chair of the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter.


Kick-off celebration of U.P.’s Trap Hills huge success

BERGLAND — On Sunday, August 18th, the Trap Hills Conservation Alliance (THCA) and Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) hosted an inaugural day of events celebrating the Trap Hills, a rarely-visited scenic area featuring stunning views, at the Bergland Township Park.

Participants traveled from places as near as Wakefield and as far as Big Bay, Houghton, and Duluth for the event. Nearly 30 hikers, ages 5 and up, enjoyed guided hikes on the North Country Trail and the Cascade Falls Trails north of Bergland. Wisconsin folksinger Skip Jones played tunes inspired by nature and labor history as hikers enjoyed a free picnic lunch from local businesses.

Nona Trealoff of SoulsShine in Hudson, Wisc. led a blessings ceremony on the shore of Lake Gogebic prior to the hike. Said Margaret Comfort, president of SWUP, “The Trap Hills are indeed a blessing to behold! We are proud to host this free day of events in conjunction with the Trap Hills Conservation Alliance, as we seek to educate the public and introduce them to the splendor of this truly magical place.”

Two hikes, led by botanist Steve Garske and geologist and retired Ottawa National
Forest wilderness ranger Doug Welker, featured 40-mile views from the edge of a spectacular rock bluff, a trip to Cascade Falls, and a vista that included a 350-foot sheer cliff, the highest in Michigan.

As Welker noted, the Trap Hills are perhaps the most spectacular and fascinating of Michigan’s largely-undiscovered secrets. With high rock bluffs, seemingly endless views, remote and relatively pristine areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, 50 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT), numerous other trails including the Pioneer Multi-use Motorized Trail, and a long historic and prehistoric copper mining history (interpreted at Old Victoria and in area museums), it’s hard to find such a concentration of special places and recreational opportunities anywhere.

“That’s why some of us are working to get the Trap Hills designated as a federal National Recreation Area (NRA), to protect special areas, increase and promote recreational opportunities, and bring more recreation-related dollars into the local economy. Done right, it could be a win-win opportunity for the variety of diverse groups who would have a stake in both developing and protecting this area,” said Welker.

Steve Garske, local botanist and board member of Save the Wild U.P., said, “A Trap Hills National Recreation Area would help protect the beautiful Western U.P. and contribute to a sustainable economy for the region as well.”

SWUP Executive Director Alexandra Thebert agreed. “Many people who live just a few minutes away have never known about the Trap Hills. We’re dedicated to protecting the Trap Hills for future generations — and glad this will include even more hikes, cook-outs, and educational events!”

Assistant Surveyor and SWUP Advisory Board Member Richard Sloat added, “I’ve lived in the Western U.P most of my life, I have visited the Porkies but I had no idea an area of such beauty and geologic diversity as the Trap Hills area existed. Why? Nobody told me.”

Doug Welker can be reached at for more information on the North Country Trail or to get involved in crafting a National Recreation Area proposal.

A primer on the Trap Hills is available at http://

Save the Wild U.P. is a grassroots organization focused on preserving the U.P.’s unique cultural and environmental resources. Visit for more information and to get involved.

“Nonprofit” jointly created by regulators and industry execs heads to court Thursday

MARQUETTE — On Thursday, a nonprofit corporation set up by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) regulators and mining industry executives, the Northern Michigan Geologic Repository Association (NMGRA), will appear in Circuit Court in Marquette claiming that it is not a public body and therefore is not subject to public scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act in response to requests for financial information.

In 2008 high-ranking State officials directly charged with enforcing mining safety and environmental regulations formed the Northern Michigan Geologic Repository Association as a ‘non-profit’ corporation while Rio Tinto was in the process of planning and constructing Eagle Mine. The NMGRA Board of Directors features Rio Tinto and Bitterroot Resources mining executives in addition to DEQ officials.

The Northern Michigan Geologic Repository Association is intended to fund and operate a “core shed” — a warehouse dedicated to storing mineral core samples which is a function of the Office of Geologic Survey according to Michigan law. As a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the contributions the Northern Michigan Geologic Repository received from individuals and corporations, including over $32,000 from Rio Tinto in 2012, are fully tax-deductible.

While Rio Tinto executives assisted in the formation of the NMGRA with state regulators, Rio Tinto constructed a 10 megawatt substation — 400% the power previously existing in Big Bay — to electrify a core shed adjacent to the Eagle Mine site. Once the power infrastructure had been installed, the core shed was removed, and Eagle Mine permit was granted a minor modification without due process or public participation.

Jana Mathieu, the attorney suing NMGRA to disclose their financial information said: “The murky facts surrounding the Northern Michigan Geologic Repository Association exemplify the need for the Freedom of Information Act and the purpose for which it was enacted: to shine a light on the actions of government officials which directly impact the citizens whom they purport to represent.”

Local attorney Michelle Halley, who challenged the Eagle Mine’s permits in court, says the public deserves to better understand the NMGRA’s funding. “The MDEQ’s partnership with corporations demonstrates its inappropriate relationship with the mining industry. The MDEQ’s motto of ‘the industry is our customer and we trust them’ is plain wrong. MDEQ’s job is to regulate the industry, not form partnerships with them — they’ve got it wrong, again,” said Halley.

“It can’t be overstressed how valuable these rock core samples are — to both the mining industry and the State of Michigan. The cores are key to understanding the safety of the proposed mine, the valuation of the proposed mine, and the toxic cocktail of heavy metals that will soon be raining down on Marquette County, when the mine’s exhaust vent stack begins spewing unfiltered mining dust into our clean air. Further, as the TWS is currently permitted, Eagle Mine will discharge over 500,000 gallons of water that will flow into the East Branch of the Salmon Trout River. That’s why, from the beginning, public access to information has been denied, and the core samples have been kept from scrutiny,” said Kathleen Heideman, Save the Wild U.P. vice president.

“The collaboration with mining executives for the creation of a non-profit in order to accomplish state mandates by a high level state of Michigan manager is classic regulatory capture: when an agency is captured to operate for the benefit of a private entity and no longer functions in the state’s best interests. We must end this regulatory fiasco,” said Jeffery Loman, former federal oil regulator and Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tribal member.

“I find it interesting that NMGRA would bring in the same high-powered downstate law firm on a simple Freedom of Information Act issue that Rio Tinto hired to run interference for the MDEQ in the Concerned Citizens of Big Bay’s administrative law case over the permitting of electric lines for Eagle Mine. It almost makes you think they have something to hide,” said Gene Champagne of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, a grassroots group which has been active in monitoring regulatory oversight of Part 632, the legislation governing non-ferrous mining in Michigan.

“It’s in the best interests of Michigan taxpayers and workers that state regulators are doing their jobs of watching the mining industry, not holding hands with its executives. That is why we are also calling for a federal investigation of this so-called nonprofit,” said Margaret Comfort, president of Save the Wild U.P.

On June 8th, Save the Wild U.P. joined with Concerned Citizens of Big Bay and others calling for a federal corruption investigation of the mining industry and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Save the Wild U.P. is a grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the preservation of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s unique cultural and environmental resources.

Letter to Chairs of Natural Resources Committee regarding CR 595

Via Telefax delivery:

March 20, 2013

The Honorable Richard “Doc” Hastings
Chairman, Natural Resources Committee
1203 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Fax: (202) 225-5929

Waves crashing on the rocky shoreline by Jacob Emerick

The Honorable Edward J. Markey
Ranking Member, Natural Resources Committee
2108 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Fax: (202) 225-4273

Dear Chairman Hastings and Ranking Member Markey:

We write regarding the upcoming testimony of Mr. James Iwanicki, Engineering Manager of the Marquette County Road Commission. Mr. Iwanicki is scheduled to provide testimony at a hearing on “America’s Mineral Resources: Creating Mining and Manufacturing Jobs and Securing America.” His testimony is slated to take place this Thursday, March 21, 2013, before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources (Committee). We also ask that you allow the voices of those whose homelands are being sacrificed in the name of foreign mining companies currently operating in an irresponsible and unsustainable manner in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to be heard.

Collectively, we are members of a federally recognized Indian tribe, former resource extraction industry regulators, and environmental advocacy groups made up of many of the more than 200 practicing physicians, clergy, property owners, workers, residents, and frequent visitors of the Upper Peninsula who oppose irresponsible mining activities currently underway. Many of us provided testimony and written comments describing our concerns and made recommendations for the proposed mine haul road that Mr. Iwanicki is slated to testify about before the Committee.  Unlike Mr. Iwanicki, whose responsibilities are limited to road maintenance and construction in Marquette County, Michigan, we are prepared to provide the House Natural Resources Committee or any of its subcommittees, with a concise description of the unsustainable practices that threaten our resources, including treaty protected tribal trust resources, our environment and our way of life.

We expect that the testimony provided Mr. Iwanicki will downplay the relationship of the road to Rio Tinto’s operations and that the Committee will be told that the road would enhance safety, recreation and “economic benefits for county residents.” Because Mr. Iwanicki’s responsibilities are limited to roads there are many aspects of this debacle of which  the Committee will not be apprised. Many are directly related to the primary purpose of the hearing. Mr. Iwanicki is likely unprepared to talk about the impacts this proposed road would have had to National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the McCormick Wilderness, and the health and way of life of the people who work, live and recreate in this area. This is the case because there was no environmental impact statement prepared for the road project. This was possible only because Rio Tinto, which claimed that it would fund the road entirely but only if the project could be permitted within a truncated timeframe that did not allow for the analyses required by federal law.

We believe that Mr. Iwanicki will inform the Committee that he was operating under a budget set by Rio Tinto and under a timeline set by Rio Tinto. We urge the Committee to question Mr. Iwanicki accordingly and specifically ask for an explanation that reconciles the obvious elimination of any use of federal transportation funds to avoid National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements with the exclusive use of Rio Tinto funding. It’s only reasonable to conclude that if the project has all of the benefits that Mr. Iwanicki will tell the Committee it has, using some federal transportation funds would be acceptable. This however was impossible for Mr. Iwanicki as a result of Rio Tinto’s arbitrary time limit. By setting the timeline and funding limitations Rio Tinto simply made it impossible to incorporate mitigation requirements to fulfill the Clean Water Act’s wetlands protection mandates. Rio Tinto maintained control over the project Mr. Iwanicki was charged with managing. It’s important to note that Mr. Iwanicki only became the manager of this proposed project when Rio Tinto’s own road proposal failed to meet these same federal requirements. The failure here is not EPA’s, but Rio Tinto’s failure to recognize and comply with federal environmental protection laws.

Because the proposed road was primarily for the purpose of avoiding traffic problems associated with Rio Tinto’s mining activities, there are literally dozens of substantive natural resource related issues and legal concerns that Mr. Iwanicki will not relate to the Committee. For example, Mr. Iwanicki is not likely to tell the Committee that while Rio Tinto touts the use of health impact assessments through its role as a member of the International Council of Mining and Metals, none has been prepared for any of the activities Rio Tinto has conducted in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Natural Resources Committee also will not learn how Rio Tinto obtained permits from the State of Michigan to construct and operate a hard rock mine with insufficient financial responsibility assurances in place as EPA fails to complete its rulemaking to address the inability of our government to continue to clean-up the millions of pounds of toxic chemical releases to our environment from these mines each year. Mr. Iwanicki will surely not explain the regulatory fiasco at Rio Tinto’s Eagle mine where a State of Michigan ground water permit is the only thing in place to regulate up to 504,000 gallons of industrial mine water discharges that Rio Tinto itself told the EPA were “not discharged below the surface of the ground.” Additionally, we are very certain that Mr. Iwanicki will not tell anyone at the hearing that State of Michigan water program technical staff who worked on Rio Tinto’s Eagle mine permits and the Governor of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula District Manager who had a very significant role during the permitting process are now on Rio Tinto’s payroll and working at the Eagle mine.

Through his testimony, we expect that Mr. Iwanicki will explain how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through what has been described by our Congressional representative as “regulatory overreach,” eliminated employment opportunities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We believe Mr. Iwanicki will testify that EPA’s “overreach” occurred in conjunction with a road construction project called County Road 595. Further, it is our understanding Mr. Iwanicki will state that EPA’s refusal to withdraw objections pursuant to provisions of the Clean Water Act that are in place to protect wetlands constituted this alleged “overreach.” We assure you that EPA’s decision to exercise its authority and follow the provisions of the Clean Water Act were not only completely appropriate – but long overdue and sought after by the citizens of the area likely to be impacted by the proposed road. To be clear, the proposed road was initially designed to address concerns related to the transportation of ore on existing roads from Rio Tinto’s Eagle mine, currently in the final stages of construction. Had EPA properly exercised its authority it would have required or prepared an Environmental Impact Statement, which EPA has the discretion to do. Through that process, issues involving the transportation of ore from the Eagle mine and other mines currently being proposed could have been addressed. Unfortunately, Rio Tinto, through extensive lobbying and other actions, set out to eliminate any and all federal environmental regulatory oversight of its activities. If one seeks to find blame with any aspect of mining and its ancillary activities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan they would be prudent to look carefully at the actions taken by Rio Tinto.

The regulatory failures associated with recent mining activities in the Upper Peninsula are monumental. Conflicts of interest, inadequate financial assurances, catastrophic technical mistakes, inadequate and insufficient scientific and environmental analysis, significant lack of experience among technical staff employed by State and federal regulatory agencies, complete absence of cumulative impact assessments and more, all are certain to contribute to a situation where we will see a net reduction of jobs in the resource extraction industry. This does not have to be the case and we are prepared to explain this situation to the Natural Resources Committee in full measure. While they operate with breathtaking arrogance and an unfounded sense of entitlement, these companies continue to avoid public debate regarding the manner in which they operate. We hope you agree that respectful and informed debate is the American way to create jobs through responsible and safe development of our natural resources.

In closing, please know that we have placed our trust in your abilities and integrity, and we seek only to remain confident that the Natural Resources Committee will not make decisions that forsake the laws and federal trust responsibilities of the United States. Please feel free to contact us if you believe we can be of service to the House Committee on Natural Resources.


Gene Champagne
Concerned Citizens of Big Bay
Big Bay, Michigan

Jeffery Loman
Member, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
L’Anse, Michigan

Emily Whittaker
Executive Director, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
Big Bay, Michigan

Margaret Comfort
President, Save the Wild U.P.
Marquette, Michigan

Catherine Parker
Marquette, Michigan

Richard Sloat
Iron River, Michigan

Congressman Douglas Lamborn, Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Via fax: (202) 226-2638
Congressman Rush Holt, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Via fax: (202) 225-6025
Congressman Daniel Benishek, Member, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Via fax: (202) 225-4710

Thursday, March 7th: Tele-Town Hall with Mining Expert Al Gedicks

Wow- our Tele-Town Hall with activist and scholar Al Gedicks was a total success. Stay tuned for more info and be sure to sign up for our upcoming Tele-Town Hall on a special topic. Have a recommendation for a Tele-Town Hall topic or speaker? Email or call (906) 662-9987. Thanks!

Gedicks, Blouin: New Wisconsin iron mining bill will be devastating to the environment

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) should be paying Isthmus contributor Larry Kaufmann for his able job of parroting their misleading talking points on the new mining bill introduced last week by GOP mining cheerleaders. The “new” version of AB 426, the Strip Mine Giveaway Bill (AB 1/SB 1), is essentially the same bill from last session. A new network of more than 80 state, regional and national organizations immediately asked legislators to reject this extreme legislation that guts state mining laws for one company’s destructive proposal.

The legislation will create a streamlined, less protective ferrous (iron) mining regulatory program for what will be the largest open pit iron mine in the world, based on no scientific evidence to justify treating iron mining different than other metallic mining. If Gogebic Taconite (GTac) proceeds with their proposal, Phase 1 alone would be larger than the acknowledged largest taconite (iron) mine in the world, the Hull Rust Mahoning Mine in Hibbing, Minnesota. The taconite ore body here runs 22 miles in length, meaning that the expansion of mining after Phase 1 could result in an even larger mine with additional impacts on rivers, streams, wetlands and groundwater.

Over 900 million tons of wastes and tailings (over 35 years of Phase 1) will be dumped in the wetlands and streams of the Bad River watershed, and could produce the same acid mine drainage that has resulted in fish advisories for mercury and a wild rice dead zone for 100 miles downstream from Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range in the St. Louis River watershed.

The main proponents of the bill, including GTac, WMC and the Wisconsin Mining Association (WMA), have consistently misled legislators with claims that the iron ore in Ashland and Iron counties is more environmentally safe compared to metallic sulfide mining and thus requires separate regulations. They claim that since this is an oxide ore and not a sulfide ore, it can’t produce acid mine drainage and poison local water supplies with dissolved toxic metals such as mercury, arsenic and lead.

Science proves mining proponents are making a false claim. Oxide ores can contain the same sulfide materials (pyrite) that cause acid mine drainage. The Wisconsin Geological Survey and the United States Geological Survey have reported that pyrite is associated with the ore and waste rock in 1929 and 2008, respectively. Independent geological studies have confirmed that there are significant sulfides in pyrite in the waste rock adjacent to the ore. The independent geologists estimate that just one cubic kilometer of the waste rock could contain the pyrite equivalent of 10 billion gallons of sulfuric acid of car battery strength.

In other words, GTac’s claim that ferrous mining should be regulated separately is based on an artificial distinction without scientific merit. Legislators who voted for AB 426 were deliberately misled by GTac, WMC and WMA about the safety of taconite mining and cast votes based on unproven mining industry rhetoric over scientific fact.

The biggest lie coming from WMC and mining proponents and repeated by Kaufmann is that the law “doesn’t alter a single water-quality, groundwater or air-quality standard.” The nonpartisan Legislative Council’s memo to legislators on the bill reveals dozens of instances of exemptions or reduced applications of current environmental law for this company’s proposal. Even Wisconsin DNR’s mining administrator, Ann Coakley, stated “there are a lot of changes that could easily be seen as weakening of environmental regulations,” as reported in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

For example, current mining law (a compromise hammered out with mining companies) already allows a groundwater sacrifice zone where pollution is allowed up to 1,200 feet in all directions from the edge of a waste site or mine. The bill allows DNR to double that boundary to 2,400 feet if the company’s design can’t meet the 1,200-foot standard. The numerical standard for groundwater pollution may not change, but the amount of polluted water would be dramatically increased.

The bill requires the DNR to approve water withdrawals in any amount, from any location, regardless of whether the withdrawal will cause lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands or wells to go dry. It allows the company to fill lake beds and dump wastes into sensitive wetlands, shorelands and floodplains. It exempts the company from meeting local zoning approvals. It removes the contested case hearing before the permit decision is made, which deprives the public of their right to have the company’s claims and DNR decisions reviewed while under oath.

The bill limits state regulators’ ability to adequately review the proposal by imposing arbitrary time deadlines of 420 days for permit decisions, and places an unreasonable cap on the costs of review. The creation of an artificial deadline for permit decisions alone virtually guarantees that federal agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers will initiate analysis independent of the state due to the federal trust responsibility to protect resources of Native Americans. The Bad River Band of Ojibwe also has sovereign authority under the Clean Water Act to protect its wild rice from mining pollution. This means that regardless of any new bill passed here, federal permit decisions are unlikely to be made for many years in the future.

There is no debate that this proposal will cause enormous and devastating effects on the air, land and waters of the Bad River watershed of Lake Superior, even if it somehow meets current environmental standards, let alone the gutted regulations in the bill. It is no exaggeration to state that mining proponents are lying to legislators and the public about the impacts of this legislation.

by Al Gedicks and Dave Blouin

Al Gedicks is the Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council and the author of Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations. Dave Blouin is the Mining Committee Chair for the Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter and co-founder of the Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin. “Citizen” is an opinion series that presents the views of the author. If you would like to reply, please comment or consider submitting an op-ed in response.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Page:

10.000 Trees The Manitou Project

10.000 Trees The Manitou Project

The public is invited to join The Cedar Tree Institute its friends and collaborative partners in planting 10,000 Northern White Cedar trees across Northern Michigan in the summer of 2012. The white cedar has seen a 30% decline in Michigan’s forests and is regarded as a medicinal tree among the Ojibway, Potawatomi and Odawa peoples of Michigan. Its Latin name is Arbor vitae meaning “Tree of Life.” The species is essential to the integrity of this region’s native ecosystem. Continue reading

Big Bay Residents Report on Rio Tinto AGM in London

By Michele Bourdieu

MARQUETTE — Two Big Bay, Mich., residents concerned about air pollution from Rio Tinto-Kennecott’s Eagle Mine went all the way to London — to Rio Tinto’s April 19, 2012, Annual General Meeting (AGM) with shareholders — to request an independent, third-party air quality monitoring program for the mine.

Continue reading

NWF: Great Lakes Remain Vulnerable to New Wave of Dangerous Mining, According to New Report

Great Lakes Remain Vulnerable to New Wave of Dangerous Mining, According to New Report

Weak laws, lax enforcement undermine efforts to protect natural resources, wildlife, communities from mine waste

05-10-2012 // Jordan Lubetkin
Lake Superior

Gaps, inconsistencies and loopholes in U.S. state and Canadian provincial laws are leaving the Great Lakes and other natural resources vulnerable to a new wave of mining activity sweeping the Upper Great Lakes states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota and Canadian province of Ontario, according to a new legal analysis by the National Wildlife Federation and Ecojustice Canada.

Weak laws and lax enforcement undermine efforts to protect our water, wildlife and communities from this dangerous form of mining,” said Michelle Halley, National Wildlife Federation attorney. “There is an urgent need for the region to address these issues now or likely face decades of contamination and clean-up.” Continue reading

KBIC appeals to UN, saying sulfide mining infringes on Native rights

Posted by Nicole Walton
May 7th, 2012

BARAGA, MI– The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is claiming sulfide mining infringes on its indigenous rights and lands.

The KBIC has submitted a document to the United Nations outlining how mines like the one in Marquette County are being approved without the tribe’s consent. Continue reading