Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Letter: Response to Mining Journal editorial

[Editor's Note: On Sept. 12, 2011, the Marquette Mining Journal published an editorial, "Stay request little more than obstructionist," supporting the Rio Tinto - Kennecott projected Eagle Mine and asking Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Paula Manderfield to deny the stay request filed by groups opposed to the mine. This response to that Mining Journal editorial was sent to Keweenaw Now on Sept. 12, 2011. Click here to read the Mining Journal editorial to which this letter refers.]

Dear Editor:

Who are these people that write for the Marquette Mining Journal these days? The Upper Peninsula has a "long and noble" history of mining? Are they talking about the days when everyone could tell if you lived around Negaunee or Ishpeming because their cars were covered with red dust? It made people sick, created fish advisories and killed birds. It wasn't noble. Last time I was in Painesdale, Baltic and Calumet -- the word "noble" didn't come to mind either. "Destitute" did. In fact these communities have been destitute for my entire lifetime. That would be 56 years, my fellow Yoopers. Yes this is the noble legacy of mining in the UP. Destitute and pathetic. This is the legacy mining leaves EVERY SINGLE PLACE THEY OPERATE. But what do I know? I've only experienced, through my work, the Tri-State Mining District/Tar Creek Superfund Site, the Midnight Mine on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Bunker Hill, and about 30 other mines on or next to Indian Reservations. Oh, the Eagle Mine just happens to be next to the L'Anse Indian Reservation -- imagine that...

View from the top of Eagle Rock, a sacred Ojibwa (Anishinaabe) site, in August 2009, before Rio Tinto / Kennecott fenced it off in June 2010. As Jeffery Loman (the author of this letter) pointed out two weeks ago to Nancy Stoner, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, he first visited Eagle Rock in 1960 when his Grandmother brought him there to pray. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Mining Journal's assertion that the plaintiffs are obstructionists left out Eagle Rock all together. They mentioned the Coaster Brook Trout and the Jack Pine Warbler, but they didn't have the guts to say a thing about the Indian spiritual site they will destroy. Spineless and ignorant is what you can chalk up from this and nothing more. They don't have the guts to mention the "Indian" aspect in the regurgitation of the Rio Tinto propaganda that the Mining Journal spewed. Moreover, they talk like they actually know about environmental regulation. If they did they'd know no agency has obtained a comprehensive chemical analysis of the cores Rio Tinto obtained. The information you have to have in order to regulate their water discharges. It is obvious that the Mining Journal knows absolutely nothing about the regulation of these operations. So I ask them now -- does the Mining Journal support uranium extraction at Eagle and the production of yellowcake at the Humboldt Mill? Tell the community YOU SERVE and tell them now! Have you asked Rio Tinto if they have found an economically viable amount of uranium? If not -- why not? You're suppose to be savvy reporters, asking the hard questions that common citizens don't think of. It is a fact that Governor Granholm directed her managers and staff to take steps to get "agreement state status" from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at about the same time Rio Tinto informed the State of Michigan they would be constructing the Eagle mine. Why? Why has Governor Snyder withdrawn that request? The Mining Journal is clueless!

Rio Tinto / Kennecott is now constructing a portal through Eagle Rock to their prospective Eagle Mine. Note cylinder-shaped cover over incline behind the construction in the foreground. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo taken Sept. 11, 2011, © and courtesy standfortheland.com)

No Federal regulatory oversight, no adequate financial responsibility assurances, no health impact assessment, no viable transportation route even though mining is about to start. State employees who were involved in reviewing Rio Tinto permits, advocating for their approval and defending them in litigation now are on Rio Tinto's payroll along with key staff from the Governor's office. Contaminant levels in the State permit that are inconsistent with Federal law, and on, and on. It's unbelievable to me -- I've never seen anything like it and I have worked on dozens of mine cleanup projects. What did the people of the Upper Peninsula do to deserve this?

Jeffery Loman, author of this letter, speaks at the Rio Tinto - Kennecott public forum held in April 2011 in Marquette. Click here to read the article and see a video of his comments. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

So I say to the Mining Journal -- start acting like newspaper people already and ask some questions, get the facts, and serve your community. After all that would be the "noble" thing to do. If you think you're going to sell more newspapers because people will use them when Rio Tinto starts making a mess -- it doesn't work that way...

Jeffery Loman
KBIC Tribal Member

No comments: