MARQUETTE -- In conjunction with U.P. Grassroots Campaign to Defend our Water and Stop the Eagle Mine, organized by WAVE (Water Action Vital Earth) and SWUP (Save the Wild UP), WAVE member Scott Rutherford of Hancock began an open-ended water-only fast on July 9, 2011.
During the July 9, 2011, Rally kicking off the UP Grassroots Campaign to Defend Our Water and Stop the Eagle Mine, WAVE member Scott Rutherford of Hancock announces his open-ended water-only fast. Rutherford addresses the crowd gathered in front of the Marquette County Courthouse for the rally, which included several speakers, chants and songs for the water. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
The purpose of the fast is to say "NO" to the unknown and possibly devastating consequences of the mine and "YES" to protecting our water and assuring a sustainable future for our children.
Rutherford’s hope is that his fast will further the objectives of the Campaign to arouse and inspire the people of Michigan and others to make a renewed effort to block further development of this deeply flawed project that threatens our environment, especially our water resources, with irreparable damage. SWUP and WAVE want concerned citizens to contact Governor Snyder and tell him to halt work on the mine until a third-party Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), encompassing all aspects of the mining project, can be conducted.
Rutherford explains his fast as follows:
"In March Governor Snyder, in response to a well documented appeal from WAVE, refused to call a halt to the development of the Eagle Mine and order a much needed comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). He was clearly placing the short term economic gain from the development of the mine above the risk of irreparable damage to our water resources and our health and well being for generations to come.
"I was morally anguished by his decision. My response is this fast. I perceive the fast as a way to nonviolently place myself between the Eagle Mine and our precious water resources and the people whose health and well being depend on them. If the Governor will not take responsibility for these matters, then we-the-people must do so.
"Through the fast I am bearing witness to a truth that places people over profits. The fast is also a prayer and a surrender to a higher power whose merciful, compassionate and wise intervention is so critically needed at this time.
"Perhaps the Governor will listen. Perhaps he will give some thought to his decision. Perhaps his conscience will tell him that he should do the right thing and suspend work on the mine."
Scott Rutherford is a 77-year-old resident of Hancock. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he served three years in the U.S. Navy. He worked for A.I.D for six years and for the Economic Development Administration for 19 years before retiring from government service in 1986. He is one of the founders of Omega House, the home for the terminally ill in Houghton, and was instrumental in the formation of the Western Upper Peninsula Health Care Access Coalition. He is married to the artist Joyce Koskenmaki. He has three children from a previous marriage and five grandchildren. He is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Houghton.
July 14th update on the fast:
By Scott Rutherford
I’m now in the seventh day of a water-only, open-ended fast in Marquette, Michigan, a hundred miles from home. So far so good. I’m watching myself very carefully, and am taking a product that will balance my electrolytes. I can tell that I’m not in the shape I was when I undertook fasts in 1989 and 1992, so I’m proceeding cautiously.
I’m not optimistic that we will succeed. But I am hopeful. Action brings hope. Moreover, I think that witness cannot be results-oriented. It is undertaken because it is the right thing to do.
I want the Campaign and my fast not only to halt the Eagle Mine but to serve as a catalyst for concerted action across the western UP to anticipate and resist future mines that are planned for our region. There has been and continues to be extensive exploration for new mines. Recently Kennecott Minerals began exploratory drilling in the Ottawa National Forest.
Monday through Thursday at 4:30 p.m. I will sit in front of the Post Office in Marquette with a sign to get my message out more widely to the people of Marquette. I’m also planning to do a blog and do something with Facebook and Twitter. We’ll see.
I am receiving a great deal of support, most especially from my wife, Joyce, for which I am very, very grateful.
I welcome your prayers for me and for the success of the Campaign. And WAVE will appreciate any support you might provide. For more information about the campaign, visit savethewildup.org.