Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms Mining and Groundwater Discharge Permits at Eagle Mine

Mining Permit decision here.

This case reflects the attempt to balance the potentially conflicting imperatives of exploiting a great economic opportunity and protecting the environment, natural resources, and public health. At issue is appellee Kennecott Eagle’s proposal to develop an underground mine to extract nickel and copper from the sulfide ores beneath the headwaters of the Salmon Trout River in the Yellow Dog Plains in Marquette County.

Groundwater Discharge permit decision here.

The court found the balance on the side of the underground mine. The state decision makers have managed to find at least three alternative grounds for not considering Eagle Rock a place of worship.

News article here.

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Release on UN Special Rapporteur Recommendations re: Eagle Rock

Here is the release:

Media Release_KBIC 9-26-12

Above is the media release from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in regards to a recent report released by the United Nations.The full report is available at here. A UN news release is available here.

KBIC, Eagle Rock, and Kennecott Mine in Scientific American

The article is Part 5 in a series called “Pollution, Poverty and People of Color”

“A Michigan Tribe Battles a Global Corporation”:

An abundant resource, this water has nourished a small Native American community for hundreds of years. So 10 years ago, when an international mining company arrived near the shores of Lake Superior to burrow a mile under the Earth and pull metals out of ore, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa had to stand for its rights and its water.

And now, as bulldozers raze the land and the tunnel creeps deeper, the tribe still hasn’t backed down.

“The indigenous view on water is that it is a sacred and spiritual entity,” said Jessica Koski, mining technical assistant for the Keweenaw Bay community. “Water gives us and everything on Earth life.”

The Keweenaw Bay Indians are fighting for their clean water, sacred sites and traditional way of life as Kennecott Eagle Minerals inches towards copper and nickel extraction, scheduled to begin in 2014.

It’s a good longreads article. Our previous coverage, including the multitude of lawsuits the article mentions, is here.

Eagle Rock Protester Sentenced

From the Mining Journal:

MARQUETTE – Keweenaw Bay Indian Community member Charlotte Loonsfoot received a 30-day delay of sentence today on a misdemeanor trespass charge involving a May protest of the Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company at Eagle Rock.

Loonsfoot, 37, of Baraga pleaded no contest today to the charge in Marquette County District Court. If she abides by all terms of the 30-day delay, the prosecution has agreed to dismiss the charge.

Defense attorney Karrie Wichtman of the Lansing firm of Rosette and Associates said the no contest plea allowed Loonsfoot to admit no wrongdoing.

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EPA Visits Eagle Rock

From ICT, via Pechanga:

BIG BAY, Mich. – As the top government official who oversees Great Lakes water quality stood on the edge of sacred Eagle Rock, overlooking a pristine expanse of the Yellow Dog Plains, she gained a better understanding about why the state-owned land is sacred to Michigan’s Ojibwa.

“I very much understand what their concerns are – and that is one of the things we are considering as we moved forward on this,” said Tinka Hyde, Water Division director for Environmental Protection Region 5. “We realize that Eagle Rock is of cultural and religious importance to the tribe.”

Hyde was one of three EPA regional bosses from Chicago and the agency’s tribal liaison for Michigan who were given a tour of the area May 13 by officials from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community during a two-day visit to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Members of numerous tribes including Ojibwa, Cherokee and Lakota had been camping at the base of Eagle Rock since April 23 in hopes of preventing Kennecott Eagle Minerals from building a nickel and copper sulfide mine – named the Eagle Project. At the company’s request, state and local police officers raided the encampment May 27 arresting two campers.

Under federal treaties, Ojibwa have rights to hunt, fish and gather on the state of Michigan owned land. The state leased the land to Kennecott with the understanding that all permits must be approved.

Hyde said any ruling the EPA makes about the withdrawal of state and federal permit applications by Kennecott subsidiaries will be based solely on environmental protection laws, primarily the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act.

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CIC-AIS Graduate Conference Prize Winners

Dear Colleagues:

Please spread the news that all three of the submitted prize winners at the recent graduate conference were women!!!   FIRST PRIZE went to Nicole Marie Keway for her remarkable paper on Emerson:  “The Piquancy of Particularity: Emersonian Savages and Speaking Beyond the Woods.”  The SECOND PRIZE winner was Sandra Garner for “Rhetorics of Traditions: Troubling Tradition in the Lakota Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality” –  Sandra is completing her degree at Ohio State University and will be at Miami University as a post-doc this fall.  Finally, a law student, Adrea Korthase, received THIRD PRIZE for her work on the “Kennecott Eagle Mineral Project and the Need for a Michigan Religious Protection Act.”

To see these outstanding women, please go to our website —  http://www.msu.edu/~cicaisc/ –  you can see their pictures as well as many of the other participants.  Conference planning, spearheaded by Susan Krouse, the director of the MSU AISP and her able assistant, Sakina Hughes, made this another memorable event.  The University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago, Ohio State, and the University of Michigan added a tremendous variety of  new scholarly approaches to the program – be sure to look at the program, which is on-line at our website.

Susan Sleeper-Smith

Director, CIC-AIS Consortium