Sunday, October 09, 2011

Opinion: Handling the Villains: RT/KEMC/DEQ

By Jack Parker*

RT/KEMC/DEQ: "Do anything, say anything -- to get the permits. We’ll fix it later."**

The month of September was a milestone in our "campaign" to overcome the activities of the villainous trio. They have prevailed. They have drilled and blasted at Eagle Rock. Five or six years of legal efforts have not stopped them. Those authorities who should have rebuked them continue to support them. The news media support them. Local police support them. Our ranks have floundered around aimlessly, without noticeable success.

Most of us do not "Know the enemy." So listen!

1. We do not realize the magnitude of the prize they seek. You have never seen a billion.

The first stage in exploitation is the Eagle orebody, said to be worth around 4.7 billion dollars. There is no good reason to believe that figure -- and RT/KEMC will not share the most recent numbers. They should. We shrug it off.

But get this: 4.7 billion is four thousand seven hundred million. That many dollars, end-to-end, would go around the equator 17.8 times. Get that picture into your mind and you may begin to fathom the intentions of RT/KEMC and how desperately they will act to get that prize. Never forget that prize. They won’t.

The Eagle project will open the door to several other projects, similarly rich. We are not dealing with amateurs. We have been bugging them like noseeums. They don’t bother to swat us, not yet.

2. We have some laws and they have ignored, altered and broken them. We allude to their crimes but allow them to deflect questions and criticisms. We let them do it! And whine to each other.

The public does not hear us. The Lower Peninsula treats us like a Third World country, to be exploited and used for recreation. We accept tourist dollars if and when they come.

It seems to me that the only way to hold back the exploiters is to bring their misdeeds to the attention of the Lower Peninsula. They too are being robbed.

3. The most obvious way to get that attention is to expose the lies and deceptions coming from RT/KEMC and their hangers-on, and we can do that by persistent and informed questioning of the criminals.

A story circulating currently is that some uranium may exist in the orebody and the KEMC will recover it. If true it will require significant changes in the mining and processing activities, hence in the permits.

If open and honest, as their propaganda claims, RT/KEMC would acknowledge the presence of uranium and deal with it.

If they ignore the matter we should pursue it. But hear this -- of more immediate significance:

We have in our hands clear evidence that the DEQ accepted the original application for permits illegally -- they ignored the opinions of the mining experts, including their own, that the document was far from acceptable. For that they should be prosecuted, and the DEQ acceptance should be reversed. Then all permits and agreements would be void.

It’s as simple as that. If we pursue it.

The Attorney General (AG) gave us an opening when he declared that one of his priorities was "To uncover and prosecute crime at ALL levels of state and local government."

Note that he and his Public Integrity Unit were going to handle the prosecution, not some impoverished Yoopers.

But, three months after receiving the evidence and a request for urgent action, AG Bill Schuette and his department are still stonewalling, doing nothing. That equates to supporting RT/KEMC/DEQ, i.e., not pursuing justice but the AG obstructing justice.

The last words coming from the A.G’s office, actually from Tom Cameron, were as follows:

"While I recognize how strongly you feel about this matter, and how much you disagree with the final decision to issue the permits and approve the application, I am simply not persuaded that this is a matter upon which we should direct our resources. Within the scope of prosecutorial discretion, we are closing our file without further


Thomas Cameron
Bureau Chief, Criminal Justice Bureau"

It’s almost laughable, isn’t it! B.S. But I said that already, five years ago. Verbatim.
I have, of course, responded to Tom’s letter, pointing out how they had missed the point, and asking them to reconsider, immediately. It was mailed, certified, 9.26.2011.

Now get this folks: Two individuals have handed you an uncomplicated case against the initial DEQ wrongdoing, which would pull the rug from under the RT/KEMC/DEQ Coalition.*** We have seen no support from our attorneys, from the media (with one notable exception), from most of the environmental groups, from Yoopers in general. You heard about it three months ago.

But you do nothing to support it.

Do you enjoy your misery? Your martyrdom? Or will you "Take the money" and be quiet?


Editor's Notes:

* Mining expert Jack Parker, semi-retired mining engineer/geologist, is well respected for his practical experience in more than 500 mines around the world. Parker -- who has degrees in mining engineering, geological engineering and geology from Michigan Technological University -- specializes in practical rock mechanics.

** Rio Tinto, Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co., Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

*** One environmental group, WAVE (Water Action Vital Earth) joined Parker and Laura Gauger in writing to the Michigan Attorney General on this issue. See: "Environmental group asks Michigan A.G. to investigate allegations of fraud at DEQ."

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