Sunday, November 21, 2010

From DC Bureau: Midwest mining rush threatens water, Part IV: Challenging the mine permitting process

By Tiffany Danitz Pache

Several groups have banded together to file a lawsuit that finds fault with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s permitting process. The National Wildlife Federation, Huron Mountain Club, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve argue that the permitting process did not adhere to the state’s 2004 non-ferrous mining law and claims that decision making was driven by politics rather than science. There was no independent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and no one -- not even Kennecott -- provided a hydrological study for a mine that will be dug 1,000 feet beneath the Salmon Trout River -- which is mostly fed by groundwater and is just a handful of miles from Lake Superior. So there is no baseline on which to hold the company accountable. In addition, there were numerous procedural violations, including Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) official, Joe Maki, who led the Mine Review Team that recommended the permit. He admitted in sworn testimony that he did not adhere to the law, and, in fact, he did not completely understand it when he issued the permit to Kennecott. ... Read the rest of this Nov. 15, 2010, article on

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