Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kennecott Mining Wrong for Michigan

Joyce Kilmer said, "But only God can make a tree." I'll expand on that a bit and say only God can create the real beauty that surrounds us in nature. I've seen beautiful man made sights in my time, but the places and things that have always filled me with a sense of reverence were made by the hand of God. Nothing can hold a candle to His creation and that's why it's so important for us to be good stewards and make wise decisions about the way we use the earth.

If you care about the earth too - and particularly Michigan - please read on about public hearings being held by the DEQ regarding a proposed decision to approve a mining permit to the Kennecott Eagle Mining Company to conduct nickel mining operations at the proposed Eagle Project Mine. Here's some background and details from other sites:

From Michigan Liberal:
The battle is over sulfide mining - an inherently destructive technique of extracting (in this case) a deposit of nickel and copper from the ground. Unfortunately, this deposit, sought by Kennecott Corporation, underlies the headwaters of the Salmon Trout River, believed to be among the last spawning streams on the south shore of Lake Superior for the native coaster brook trout. Sulfide mining is a process that releases toxic sulfuric acid into nearby water. It's like putting a chemical factory in one of the wildest places in Michigan - and then counting on good-faith promises not to leave an expensive mess behind for taxpayers to pay for. But acid mine drainage has already polluted more than 12,000 miles of rivers and streams and over 180,000 acres of lakes and impoundments in the U.S. [...]

When sulfide mining was proposed in the north country of Wisconsin a few years back, the same concerns about the long-term environmental risks of sulfide mining were heard. There, legislators enacted a law with a simple, easily defensible standard - sulfide mining would be allowed provided that its proponents could demonstrate the safety of the method. There's been no new sulfide mining in Wisconsin. But Michigan has taken a different approach, enacting a law that assumes that sulfide mining can be made safe - when it is inherently unsafe with current technology.
From Save the Wild U.P., here's more about Wisconsin's actions:
Wisconsin did not "ban" metallic sulfide mining. The state of the technology and the record of MSM have done that. Wisconsin's law is a moratorium that says, in effect, "Industry can mine metallic sulfide ores in Wisconsin when it can show one mine in the United States or Canada that has operated and been closed for ten years without significant damage to its watershed." That cannot be done so far, and that challenge has been sufficient to make Wisconsin the least friendly place in the world to attempt to mine metallic sulfide ores!
There have been other incidents too. From Media Mouse [emphasis added]:
Kennecott has had problems with other mines it runs and acid mine drainage, most notably with its Green’s Creek Mine in Juneau, Alaska and the Flambeau Mine in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. According to research conducted by the Eagle Alliance, Kennecott tops the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of corporations with the highest toxic release in the United States.
What does Michigan stand to gain from granting the permit? Jobs. There's no doubt the U.P. needs the employment, but it's projected the project will only create between 100-250 temporary jobs that are expected to last 5-7 years, and many of those jobs are expected to be filled from people outside the state.

Moreover, while the mine may bring up to $100 million in investment, the ore body may be worth up to $2.8 billion and 90% of the profits will leave Michigan The payoff goes to a foreign corporation at the possible expense of our environment. I'm just not convinced this is a good fit for Michigan.

This could just be the beginning according to Dick Huey of Save the Wild U.P.:
This first proposed mine is just the foot in the door -- if it is permitted there will be a new mining district up here that may well go from end to end in the U.P., and could even extend into the Lower Peninsula all the way down to Ann Arbor.
The prospect of a huge mining district sounds exciting, but it doesn't guarantee wealth and good paying jobs. Just ask someone like Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch, West Virginia. [Via Alternet]
"The more coal we mine, the poorer we get. We don't have good roads, good infrastructure, water and sewage -- we have nothing," said Bonds. "They treat us like a third-world country, and the rest of America turns their faces away. There is no prosperity here."
We can't afford a short-term fix that risks ruining Michigan's most valuable resource - it's fresh water. The Great Lakes were formed at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago - acid mine drainage from sulfide mines can be “forever.”

Click here to learn about 5 Simple Things You Can Do Now to Protect Michigan's Water

1 comment:

Save the said...

Greetings!

Save the Wild UP has launched the Save the Wild UP Video Challenge and I'm hoping that you can put something on your blog to promote it. It would also be great if you could pass this along to people you think could make a cool video. There's much more at the site:

http://absolutemichigan.com/blogs/savethewildup/

Thanks!