Protesters held a peaceful rally against the Kennecott Eagle Project and sulfide mining on May 6, 2010, at the Marquette County Courthouse. Two groups, Save the Wild UP (SWUP) and Water Action Vital Earth (WAVE), are planning another rally to kick off their new UP Grassroots Campaign to Defend Our Water and Stop the Eagle Mine at 1 p.m. on July 9, 2011, at the Courthouse. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
The Marquette County Courthouse is at 234 West Baraga Ave., Marquette.
Featured speaker will be Laura (Furtman) Gauger of Wisconsin, author of the book, The Buzzards have Landed. Other speakers include Dr. Alan Olson, addressing the importance of water, Jon Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute, and longtime activist Scott Rutherford of Hancock.
Speakers will make the case that the mine poses a clear and present danger to our watersheds of Lake Superior, and to the health of local citizens for generations to come.
WAVE holds that this mine is only the beginning of exploitation, and will lead to water contamination on a scale hitherto unknown in this area.
The purpose of the campaign is to arouse, inspire, and mobilize citizens to make a renewed effort to block the mine. Its specific objective is to convince Governor Snyder to issue an executive order to halt work on the mine and call for a complete third-party impact study (EIS) on every aspect of the Eagle Mine project.
The group requested the Governor in March to take just such action. He refused, diverting their request to the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), the agency responsible for permitting Kennecott's inadequate mining application.
Gov. Snyder's refusal precipitated this campaign.
Kennecott has publicly stated its intent to blast the mine portal into Eagle Rock, a sacred site of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) people, in mid-September.
This photo shows the camp at Eagle Rock, an Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) sacred site, May 25, 2010, just before campers were ordered to leave and Kennecott fenced off access to Eagle Rock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
The open-ended campaign will begin July 9. While it has a political objective, the campaign will have a spiritual, nonviolent foundation. Members of the group will have an encampment at the mine site near Eagle Rock. They will fast, vigil, do walks and consider other nonviolent means of expressing their distress at the continued development of the mine.
Scott Rutherford, 77, of Hancock, a veteran and member of WAVE, is planning an extended, open-ended fast, beginning July 9.
Scott Rutherford of Hancock, a member of WAVE, announces the July 9 Rally during the July 4, 2011, Horsetail Scramble event at Churning Rapids in Hancock. Rutherford also mentioned his intention to fast as part of the UP Grassroots Campaign to Defend Our Water and Stop the Eagle Mine and passed out brochures about the campaign during this event, which was attended by about 200 people. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
"The fast is, in part, an appeal to Governor Snyder to reflect on the moral implications of his refusal to call a halt to work on the mine," Rutherford says.
Here are other ways citizens can participate in the Campaign: Call and write Governor Snyder. Visit the SWUP Web site to get information about how and when to contact the Governor and what to say to him.
Everyone of good heart is welcome to participate in all events of the campaign, say the members of WAVE and SWUP. The SWUP site will also be publishing updates on the campaign.
SWUP and WAVE also invite concerned citizens to visit the encampment and vigil and fast with them, help out at the SWUP office in Marquette or donate to the campaign. (See the SWUP Web site for information on donations.)
For more details, click on this letter from SWUP and WAVE.
More mines on the way
The western region of the Upper Peninsula lies in a band of sulfide ore that extends from Ontario across the UP and Wisconsin into Minnesota. It reportedly contains the richest deposits of nickel and copper in North America. They are encased in five billion tons of low-grade rock.
Baraga and southern Houghton County have been extensively explored for nickel and copper ore deposits. Recently Kennecott received a permit to begin exploration in the Ottawa National Forest. Bitterroot Resources also has explored for uranium near Jacobsville.*
*Editor's Notes: Click here for a January 2010 article on Bitterroot's uranium exploration. Bitterroot claims to own 363 square miles of mineral rights in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, mainly in Ontonagon, Houghton, Baraga, and Iron Counties. Read about their interest in copper and nickel in these areas.