Editor's Note: Jack Parker, a mining engineer from Baltic, Mich., and a Keweenaw Now guest writer, sent the following letter to Ross Micham of Region 5 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Feb. 20, 2011. The letter was acknowledged and forwarded to a scientist who is working on the wetlands issues related to the Eagle project. It is reprinted here at Mr. Parker's request.
Good morning Ross:
In times of trouble I turn to you again for help. You seem to know your way around, and to have retained your integrity.
As you probably guessed it concerns the Kennecott haul road and political pressure on the EPA to relax standards on wetlands protection and clean water.
You have probably heard of McBroom's House Bill HB4303 which would free them from regulation if roadwork were confined to the ROW (Right-Of-Way) of an existing road -- that might allow them to designate the ORV/snowmobile trail to be an existing road CR595 -- and be home free.*
The EPA /FWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) /C of E (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) decision on the "Woodland Road" recognized the very transparent deception and denied permits. I see the current politicking as a move to take you out of the picture. Am sure that you recognize that too.
Now I wonder what we can do to convince your decision makers that you/we are up against a truly corrupt and fraudulent coalition of Rio Tinto, Kennecott, MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, now the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, or MDNRE) and the courts (which have been sitting on the Appeals for six months). If any reputable engineering group were to simply read the original Feb. 2006 application for permits they too would reject it -- as did I and the DEQ's hired expert, David Sainsbury -- whose reports were suppressed. From a legal point of view Kennecott has consistently disregarded the Michigan Mining Law, Part 632 -- flagrantly. They continue mine construction despite the fact that they do not have a haul road; in fact they have not yet conducted the required EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) which must be completed before submitting an application -- before any mining-related activities can be performed.
You will remember that I am a mining man and that I want to see the deposit mined legally and responsibly, and that I am on nobody's payroll.
Will you please bring this matter to the attention of the powers-that-be, at the three agencies, and NOT relax standards but instead reinforce them, preferably by taking back responsibilities from MDEQ. You probably read of MDEQ Joe Maki's admission, under oath, that he and his Mining Team did not even consider the new law, 632, when evaluating the application! It's in the court transcripts. The judge shrugged it off!**
Please help ASAP. They specialize in ignoring the law and establishing the fait accompli.
Thanks for being there!
Jack Parker, Mining Engineer
Baltic MI 49963
Jack Parker adds a note to concerned readers requesting they write their own letter to Ross Micham at email@example.com, with a copy to EPA Director Lisa Jackson at Jackson.firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Click here for House Bill 4303 (2011) as introduced (reflecting no subsequent amendments or changes).
**Parker gives more details on the court case mentioned in the above letter in our Dec. 6, 2010, article, "Mining expert Jack Parker says Eagle Mine likely to collapse."