Two U.P. residents attend Rio Tinto meeting in London

Press Release  April 15, 2012

Two Upper Peninsula women are traveling to London, England to attend the Rio Tinto Annual General Meeting taking place April 19, 2012.  Carla Champagne of the grassroots citizens group Concerned Citizens of Big Bay and Cynthia Pryor of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, plan on attending the Rio Tinto AGM meeting for two reasons:


“Air Quality is of prime importance to the people and community of Big Bay.” states Carla Champagne.  “We are directly downwind and no one – including Kennecott and the DEQ – knows what is currently in the air coming from this mine, or even more importantly, what will be coming from the one once they are in full operation.  There are no air monitors either at the mine or anywhere near Big Bay.  We will be asking the Rio Tinto Board of Directors and their shareholders for a comprehensive air quality program to be installed in the region that will be regulated by the DEQ, monitored by DEQ approved third party scientists and all costs paid for by Kennecott.” Continue reading



Roscoe and Evelyn Churchill were right. They said from the very beginning that the Flambeau Mine would pollute the water over there, and it has.Now we have a chance to do something about it, and WRPC is asking for your help. Please see the attached letter for details and submit your written comments to the Wisconsin DNR by February 20, 2012.

Continue reading

Minnesota: Chamber, corporations pursue sulfide mining at cost of degrading Minnesota’s waters

By C.A. Arneson | Monday, Aug. 29, 2011

It was bad enough when the U.S. Supreme Court bestowed corporations with personhood – but under the guise of the title Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota now has its own corporative dictator. And Minnesota’s dictator wants sulfide mining at all costs – including the permanent degradation of Minnesota waters.

Continue reading

CALL Governor Snyder Thursday and Friday!!!

Governor Snyder refused an earlier appeal WAVE made to halt development of the mine.  Rio Tinto/Kennecott has never had a non-polluting sulfide mine, their new technology is untested. Our water, our health and our children’s health—for generations to come—is at risk. And they have failed to adequately study the impacts!

Call Snyder’s office tomorrow and/or Friday and request that Kennecott/Rio Tinto halt work on the Eagle Project until a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement be conducted.


Call-in dates: August 11 and 12.

Write-in dates:  August 7 – 21, 2011

Contact Information

Governor Rick Snyder, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing MI 48909

Tel. (517) 373-3400; FAX (517) 335-7858;

Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering, Saturday, August 6, 2011 in Champion, MI

Protect the Earth Gathering UPDATE!
Make your plans now for a ride to the Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering SATURDAY, AUGUST 6th, at Van Riper State Park
We are calling upon:
a. All those who can drive and take some folks in their vehicle.
b. All those who need a ride.
If you can drive, let us know: a.) from where b.) how many people you can take in your vehicle. Call 906-250-3284.
If you need a ride, let us know. We hope to have drivers from Marquette, Houghton/Hancock, Baraga/L’Anse, and Big Bay. Don’t wait until the last minute … you’ll be up on the roof rack!
ALSO: If you can please bring a lawn chair.
To make a Van Riper camping reservation, call 1-800-447-2757, or reserve a spot at the park entrance.

You are cordially invited to attend the 4th Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering on Saturday, August 6th at Van Riper State Park in Champion, Michigan. This year’s theme is “Coming Together: Uniting for Strength and Success.”

The purpose of the gathering is to seek ways in which the citizens of the Upper Great Lakes Region can work together more effectively to defend their water resources against the threat of new extraction projects.

Speakers will focus on proposed activity that threatens the health of the region including the controversial Eagle Project on the Yellow Dog Plains and Hud Bay’s proposed Front 40 Project for zinc and gold takings in Menominee Co., according to conference organizer Margaret Comfort.

Also on the program are “Fracking” of gas wells in lower Michigan, proposed extractive resource projects in the Penokee Hills of Wisconsin, and proposed copper-nickel sulfide projects in NE Minnesota, plus a special presentation on environmental justice and indigenous cultural issues.

The gathering is free to interested participants. It will begin with an optional walk at 9:00 a.m. from Koski’s Corner (intersection of US-41 and M-95) to the proposed Humboldt processing facility,  approximately 2.5 miles round trip. The focus of the walk is to raise awareness of the importance of defending local water resources. Rides back to the cars will be available.

The main conference will be held in the Van Riper Park Pavillion beginning with lunch at 11:30 a.m. Al Gedicks (WI), Frank Koehn (WI), Bob Tammen (MN) are among the highlighted speakers scheduled from 1:00-4:30 p.m. A round-table discussion from 4:30-6:00 p.m. will involve threats to health due to heavy metals, sustainable alternatives to dead-end industries, and recent Michigan legislation limiting townships’ zoning authority over extractive industries.  Participants will address ways of working more effectively together.

The day will close with a catered supper and an ‘open mic’ session, according to Comfort. While there is no charge, seating is limited to 100 people. Attendees can e-mail, or call (906) 662-9987 to reserve a place at the gathering or arrange for carpooling from Marquette, Big Bay, or Houghton.

This event is sponsored by WAVE – Water Action Vital Earth – working for clean water and a sustainable future, and Save the Wild UP, protecting the Upper Peninsula from environmental degradation and dangerous contamination.

Make your reservations for Protect the Earth 2011 NOW.  Seating is limited to 100 people – make SURE this includes YOU !!!

Please bring lawn or folding chairs – thanks!


Van Riper State Park – “in the Heart of Moose Country” –located 35 miles west of Marquette on US-41.

1.  Camping at Van Riper State Park  (VRSP – call 906-339-4461) – as of 7/13/11, the following options are available:

a.  “Group Campsites” along the Peshekee River –  must reserve at least FIVE sites, each site costs $12 per night.   Rustic with vault toilet. 1/2 mile to main park entrance – nice walking trail.  Very beautiful area !  Must call VRSP to reserve.

b.  “Group Cabin” along Peshekee River – sleeps six in bunk beds.  No kitchen. Rustic with vault toilet. 1/2 mile to main park entrance – nice walking trail. Outfitted with aluminum flat-bottom boat, oars, PFDs. $50 per night.  Bring your own linens. Call VRSP to reserve.

c.  “Modern Cabin” along shores of Lake Michigamme – gorgeous sunsets.  At the main campground.  Brand new!  No kitchen.  Vault toilet. Sleeps six in bunk beds and one fold-out bed.  $80 per night. Bring your own linens. Call 1-800-44-PARKS to reserve.

d.  “Modern Campsites” – at the main campground. $21 per night.  Includes electrical hook-up.  Flush toilets and warm showers.

Call 1-800-44-PARKS to reserve.

2.  Area Motels and Cabins

a.  Lake Ruth Resort in Twin Lakes (Rte 41, about 12 miles W of VRSP) –  as of 7/13/11, two large motel rooms with AC and fully-equipped kitchenettes are available for nights of Aug 5 and Aug 6.  $70 per night.  Also available are two cabins, each with bed and stand-up shower, at $60 per night (but no AC).  New, clean, and well-appointed. Right on Ruth Lake!   Call  906-323-9022 to reserve.

b.  L’ Anse Motel (approx 40 miles West on Rte 41) –  906-524-7820, some rooms available at $45 (for two) and $55 (for four people)

c.  Hilltop Inn in L’ Anse – 906-524-6321 or 800-424-2548 – rooms are available for the 5th and 6th, at $54 per night
d.  Best Western (in W. Ishpeming, approx 18 miles East on Rte 41) – 906-485-6345 or 800-528-1234


A.  ADDITIONAL LODGING OPTIONS:   these lodgers do have availability on Aug 5th and 6th (as of 7/24/11 a.m.)

i.    Maple Ridge Resort – on Lake Michigamme 906-323-6334, $105 per night – 1 queen-sized bed with complete kitchen

ii.   Streak-Ed Water Resort – also on the Lake 906-323-6169.  $80 per night – cabin with full-sized bed & complete kitchen, bring bath towels


Best Friday Night Fish Fry in the Universe –  Hometown Cafe right in Michigamme – call 323-6323 – open 8 am to 8 pm every day.  Breakfast is served all day.

Mt. Shasta Restaurant – on Rte 41 – right at Michigamme.  Call 323-6212.  Good Fish Fry too.  Part of “Anatomy of a Murder” was filmed here!

Lunch and Dinner only.

Francois Cafe – at intersection of Rte 41 and Rte 95 – where the Walk will begin on Saturday a.m. –  phone 339-0013 – open 7 am to 7 pm.

For those travelling from the West:  

a.  Covington – The Hardwood Steakhouse – delicious Ruebens (with their own homemade red slaw), French Onion Soup, Steaks – 4 miles WEST of the Covington Junction (Rte 41 and Rte 141) – call 355-2712

a.  L’Anse – HillTop Restaurant (adjacent to HillTop Motel):  524-7858

b.  Baraga – Best Western Lakeside Inn (a beautiful view of Keweenaw Bay and good fish!, also Lodging) – 353-7123

c.  Baraga – Oibwa Casino Resort and Migizi Wadiswan Restaurant –  353-6333 (Lodging) and 353-4494 (Restaurant)

For those traveling from the East:

Fine Dining in Beautiful Marquette:

a.  Casa Calabria (Italian) at 1106 N. 3rd St. (228-2088) – lunch & dinner

b.  Coco’s –  911 Lakeshore Blvd (overlooking Lake Superior) – call 228-2680 for lunch & dinner.

c.  The Vierling – a classic MQT establishment with beautiful view of Lake Superior – near the corner of Front St. and Washington St.

d.  Rubiyat (Indian cuisine) – 119 W. Baraga (right next to the MQT Coop) 228-7800

e.  Sai Uwa Thai Bistro – what a delight!  –  228-8424 – on Front St. just 1/2 block N. of Washington St.

f.   SweetWater Cafe  517 N. 3rd St. 226-7009

g.  UpFront and Co. 102 E. Main St. 228-5200

Fine Dining in Beautiful Ishpeming:

a.  Mama Mia’s (Italian) at 207 E. Pearl St. (485-5813)

b.  World’s Best Italian Beef Sub:  Ralph’s Italian Deli (corner of Rte 41 and Palms Ave.) call 485-4557

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, JUST GIVE US A CALL AT 906-228-4444 or 906-250-3284


TAKE ACTION: Help Stop New Kennecott Exploration

Proposed Mineral LeaseRecently the DNRE announced a public comment period for leasing over 4000 acres of mineral rights to Kennecott for further exploration. The exploration would take place in Southern Marquette County, Northern Dickinson County, and Southern Houghton County.

New Sulfide Mining Exploration

Proposed Mineral Lease Will Affect

Marquette County:

  • T43n-R25w Sec. 18 & 19
  • T43n-R26w Sec. 1, 6-10, 14, & 18

Dickinson County:

  • T43n-R27w Sec. 1, 3, 4-6, 9, & 13

Houghton County:

  • T47n-R36w Sec. 16

Public Comment Should Be Sent To:

Tom Hoane
P.O. Box 30452
Lansing, MI

Feds outline lakes cleanup plan


$2.2B earmarked to reverse century’s worth of damage

AP environmental writer

TRAVERSE CITY — The Obama administration has developed a five-year blueprint for rescuing the Great Lakes, a sprawling ecosystem plagued by toxic contamination, shrinking wildlife habitat and invasive species.

The plan envisions spending more than $2.2 billion for long-awaited repairs after a century of damage to the lakes, which hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the document, which Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will release at a news conference today in Washington.

“We’re committed to creating a new standard of care that will leave the Great Lakes better for the next generation,” Jackson said in a statement.

Among the goals is a “zero tolerance policy” toward future invasions by foreign species, including the Asian carp, a huge, ravenous fish that has overrun portions of the Mississippi River system and is threatening to enter Lake Michigan.

Others include cleanup of the region’s most heavily polluted sites, restoring wetlands and other crucial habitat, and improving water quality in shallow areas, where runoff from cities and farms has led to unsightly algae blooms and beach closings.

Also promised is a strategy for monitoring the ecosystem’s health and holding federal agencies accountable for carrying out the plan.

During his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama pledged $5 billion over a decade toward fulfilling a Great Lakes cleanup wish list developed by a coalition of agencies, scientists and activists.

Congress last year approved his request for a first installment of $475 million. The newly released plan assumes yearly appropriations of the same amount through 2014, except for the $300 million President Obama requested this month in his 2011 budget.

The 41-page plan sets out ecological targets and specific actions to be taken by 16 federal agencies working with state, local and tribal governments and private groups.

Among the goals it seeks by 2014: finishing work at five toxic hot spots that have languished on cleanup lists for two decades; a 40 percent reduction in the rate at which invasive species are discovered in the lakes; measurable decreases in phosphorus runoff; and protection of nearly 100,000 wetland acres.

It also will help save species such as the lake sturgeon, a prehistoric fish that can reach 8 feet long and 200 pounds but is endangered because of overharvesting and habitat degradation. The plan promises to provide 25,000 young sturgeon for stocking programs.

Combined with enforcement of environmental rules and new ones where needed, officials said the plan would help make Great Lakes fish safe to eat, and ensure their waters are suitable for drinking and swimming, and their native plants and animals are thriving.

The lakes provide drinking water to more than 30 million people and are the backbone of a regional economy dependent on tourism, outdoor recreation, shipping and manufacturing.

“We now have a golden opportunity, even a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to make huge progress,” Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, co-chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, said in a telephone interview Saturday. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. Now the federal government is putting some real resources behind it.”

Jeff Skelding, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which represents environmental groups across the region, praised the plan’s commitment to long-range funding for the restoration but said Congress should boost Obama’s 2011 spending request to $475 million.

The coalition also says too much restoration money is being diverted to fighting Asian carp, which could endanger the region’s $7 billion sport fishing industry by gobbling plankton and unraveling the food chain.

An “all-out effort” is needed to keep the carp out of the lakes, but funding should come from elsewhere in the federal budget, the coalition said.

Cameron Davis, EPA’s senior adviser on the Great Lakes, said about $58 million in restoration funds would go to the carp battle this year. But invasive species programs are getting less restoration money than other needs, such as toxic cleanups and habitat improvements.

Readmore :    Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan

Doctors resign en masse over uranium exploration

The Montreal Gazette
December 4, 2009 1:58 PM

MONTREAL – Twenty doctors have handed in their resignations at the Centre hospitalier régional de Sept-Îles.
In an open letter addressed to Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc, the physicians say they have quit, as a group, to protest plans to build an uranium mine on the North Shore.
The protest comes on the heels of the introduction new government mining legislation, which does not impose a moratorium on uranium exploitation in Quebec.
The doctors say they fear for their own families’ health as well as for the health of the population in the region.
The letter’s signatories say they plan to leave the region and, in some cases, the province.
Lorraine Richard, the Parti Québécois MNA for Duplessis, says the doctors’ departure will be a disaster for health care in the Sept-Îles region.
The town of Sept-Îles, with a population of 26,000, is located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, about 915 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

EPA: Uranium From Polluted British Petroleum Mine Found In Nevada Water Wells

SCOTT SONNER | 11/21/09 06:31 PM  Huffington Post

YERINGTON, Nev. — Peggy Pauly lives in a robin-egg blue, two-story house not far from acres of onion fields that make the northern Nevada air smell sweet at harvest time.

But she can look through the window from her kitchen table, just past her backyard with its swingset and pet llama, and see an ominous sign on a neighboring fence: “Danger: Uranium Mine.”

For almost a decade, people who make their homes in this rural community in the Mason Valley 65 miles southeast of Reno have blamed that enormous abandoned mine for the high levels of uranium in their water wells.

They say they have been met by a stone wall from state regulators, local politicians and the huge oil company that inherited the toxic site – BP PLC. Those interests have insisted uranium naturally occurs in the region’s soil and there’s no way to prove that a half-century of processing metals at the former Anaconda pit mine is responsible for the contamination.

That has changed. A new wave of testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that 79 percent of the wells tested north of the World War II-era copper mine have dangerous levels of uranium or arsenic or both that make the water unsafe to drink.

And, more importantly to the neighbors, that the source of the pollution is a groundwater plume that has slowly migrated from the 6-square-mile mine site.

The new samples likely never would have been taken if not for a whistleblower, a preacher’s wife, a tribal consultant and some stubborn government scientists who finally helped crack the toxic mystery that has plagued this rural mining and farming community for decades.

“They have completely ruined the groundwater out here,” said Pauly, the wife of a local pastor and mother of two girls who organized a community action group five years to seek the truth about the pollution.

“It almost sounds like we are happy the contamination has moved off the site,” she said. “But what we are happy about is … they have enough data to now answer our questions.”

“Prior to this, we didn’t really have an understanding of where water was moving,” said Steve Acree, a highly regarded hydrogeologist for the EPA in Oklahoma, who was brought in to examine the test results. “My interpretation at this stage of the process is yes, you now have evidence of mine-impacted groundwater.”

The tests found levels of uranium more than 10 times the legal drinking water standard in one monitoring well a half mile north of the mine. Though the health effects of specific levels are not well understood, the EPA says long-term exposure to high levels of uranium in drinking water may cause cancer and damage kidneys.

At the mine itself, wells tested as high as 3.4 milligrams per liter – more than 100 times the standard. That’s in an area where ore was processed with sulfuric acid and other toxic chemicals in unlined ponds.

Moving north toward the mine’s boundary and beyond, readings begin to decline but several wells still tested two to three times above health limits.

“The hot spots, the treatment areas on the site, are places you totally expect to see readings like that,” said Dietrick McGinnis, an environmental consultant for the neighboring Yerington Paiute Tribe. “But this shows you have a continuous plume with decreasing concentration as you move away from the site.”

The new findings are no surprise to Earle Dixon, the site’s former project manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which owns about half of the property.

An administrative judge ruled last year that the BLM illegally fired Dixon in 2004 in retaliation for speaking out about the health and safety dangers at the mine.

“The new data depicts the story that I had tried to hypothesize as a possibility,” Dixon told the AP.

“It was speculation, because I didn’t have the dramatic evidence they have now. You just had all the symptoms,” he said from New Mexico, where he is now a state geologist.

“The way the state has been telling the story and BP and Lyon County … is this is mostly all natural. Well, no it’s not,” he said. “We now know for a fact that most of this uranium as far as 2 miles out from the mine comes from the mine.

“This site becomes a poster child for mining pollution.”

Officials for BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, and its subsidiary Atlantic Richfield have insisted until now that the uranium could not be tied to the mine. They maintained the high concentrations were due to a naturally occurring phenomenon beneath Nevada’s mineral-laden mountains.

The new discovery has Pauly, McGinnis and others renewing a call for the EPA to declare the mine a Superfund site – something the state and county have opposed despite a new potential source of money to help cover cleanup costs that could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

Jill Lufrano, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, said an investigation into the source of contamination is continuing but “the new finding does put scientific confirmation behind the theory that this would migrate off site.”

She said the new evidence doesn’t change the state’s opposition to Superfund listing. Nevada has a long tradition of supporting mining and now produces more gold than anywhere in the world except China, South Africa and Australia.

Copper first was discovered around Yerington in 1865. Anaconda bought the property in 1941 and – fueled by demand after World War II – produced nearly 1.75 billion pounds of copper from 1952-78.

A mineral firm launched a then-secret plan to produce yellowcake uranium from the mine’s waste piles in the 1970s. An engineer reported in 1976 that they weren’t finding as much uranium as anticipated in the processing ponds. “Where could it be now?” he wrote. “Should we continue to look for it?”

Had they continued the search outside the processing area, Wyoming Mineral Corp. likely would have detected the movement of the contamination. But the market for uranium dipped and the company scuttled the venture.

Pauly never suspected the mine was leaking contamination when she and her husband finished building their home in 1990. They drank water from their well until 2003 – and used it to mix formula for a baby from 1996-98 – before becoming suspicious as rumors swirled about the contaminated mine.

“Everybody said it was fine,” she said. “Legally they didn’t have to disclose anything because technically there was nothing definitive then that showed the contamination was moving off the site.”

BP and Atlantic Richfield, which bought Anaconda Copper Co. in 1978, have stopped claiming there is no evidence the mine caused any contamination, but they aren’t conceding anything about how much.

“We know the mine has had an impact but to what extent is not really known at this time,” Tom Mueller, spokesman for BP America in Houston, told The Associated Press in a recent e-mail. He said the sampling “remains inconclusive regarding relative impacts from the mine” compared with other potential sources.

Yerington Paiute Tribe Chairman Elwood Emm said he hopes the new findings help expedite cleanup. “In the meantime, we continue to lose our water resource,” he said.

So who will pay for the cleanup?

“That is the million-dollar question,” Dixon said. “Every Superfund site needs an advocate or two or three and in my view there are none for Yerington except for Peggy Pauly.”

Regardless of who pays, Acree said, it likely will take decades to clean up.