Sunday, January 23, 2011

Opinion: On the road again -- concerning the Kennecott haul road

By Jack Parker

BALTIC -- Those who discuss and argue about the best and worst haul-road proposals are working for Kennecott. They have been duped -- by "intelligence" at Rio Tinto/Kennecott -- into making the topic appear to be acceptable and legitimate. It is neither acceptable nor legitimate. Don’t feel bad -- they do it all the time, world-wide. Big budget!

My main contention is that Kennecott does not have a permit for any road, anywhere; and they know it, so they avoid that topic and divert the attention of opponents and innocent bystanders from it by fomenting discussions and arguments which are, in reality, pointless. It seems that most opponents and proponents have fallen for the trickery. Right?

So far they, Rio Tinto/Kennecott, have been successful, as they were at Eagle Rock.

Please let me explain. I will stick to the facts, will not use long and tedious quotations, but will give simple references which will lead you to confirm the relevant facts if you wish.

THE PERMITTING PROCEDURES -- REQUIRED AND REALITY. These were set up in relatively simple language as Part 632 -- Michigan's Nonferrous Metallic Mining Regulations -- readily available to all on the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) Web site. Definitions are included. It is worth remembering that some documents have been removed from that site and some have been "modified." If necessary we can provide originals.*

Now note that Joe Maki, DNRE (formerly DEQ -- Department of Environmental Quality) Mining Team manager, admitted that he and his Mining Team did not adhere to this law when evaluating the contents of the application (pages 6305-6311 of his court transcript.) That means that his conclusions and recommendations and permits were all without sound foundation and are thus meaningless. All of them.

For reasons unknown, that fact has been overlooked by the DEQ, the court, the judge and the opponents -- but it is incontrovertible.

All permits are invalid, should have been and still should be revoked.

Setting that aside for the moment, let us look again at Part 632. It begins by stating that no mining-related activities can begin until all permits are approved.

The definitions provided tell us that mining-related activities include ground-clearing, building and /or extension of access roads and utilities -- such as power lines. Since Kennecott must have known that their permits were not valid they have openly defied the Law, despite protests from the opposition. The DEQ colluded with them by looking the other way and by circumventing public hearings and misreporting comments offered. We were duped.

Presumably Kennecott figured that protests would fade away and they could do as they pleased, which has proved to be the case to date. They have incited diversions such as Eagle Rock and power lines while they proceeded with construction and spending unhindered. We were duped.

Anyway, the Point is this: That all of the current arguments are pointless -- because Kennecott has no permits to do anything at the Eagle deposit, except exploration.

In their comments on the original "Woodland Road" application the USACE (Army Corps of Engineers) warned us that work done and money spent on a project before permitting would carry no weight in the permitting process. You could say that Kennecott goofed.

Part 632 already prescribes penalties for deceptive presentations in the permitting process. You will find them on the DNRE site. Look for Part 324.63223 False
Representations. Fast forward to 5. Endangerment.**

Governor Snyder -- please note, before you too get duped. Just enforce the existing law, Part 632 in particular.


Jack Parker, Mining Engineer
Baltic 49963


* Click here for Part 632.

**In the pdf file linked above, scroll down to pp. 13-14.

Editor's Note: Emphasis in this article is the author's. Opinion articles do not always express the views of Keweenaw Now.

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