Friday, April 20, 2012

Photos: Big Bay residents attend Rio Tinto AGM in London

By Michele Bourdieu, with information from GreenwashGold.org
Photos by Sallie Dean Shatz

Carla Champagne, right, of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, Mich., and Cynthia Pryor, second from right, of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve join demonstrators outside Rio Tinto's Annual General Meeting on Apr. 19, 2012, in London, England. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2012 by Sallie Dean Shatz of www.shatziephotos.com. Reprinted with permission.)

LONDON, UK -- Cynthia Pryor of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve and Carla Champagne of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, Mich., attended Rio Tinto's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in London, England, on Thursday, April 19, 2012, to present their concerns about Rio Tinto/Kennecott's air quality application for their Eagle Mine near Big Bay.

Cynthia Pryor, right, displays her protest sign during a demonstration outside Rio Tinto's Annual General Meeting on Apr. 19, 2012, in London, England. (Photo © 2012 by Sallie Dean Shatz of www.shatziephotos.com. Reprinted with permission.)

Pryor and Champagne attended the AGM to ask the Rio Tinto Board of Directors and their shareholders for a comprehensive air quality program to be installed in the region that will be regulated by the DEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), monitored by DEQ-approved third party scientists and all costs paid for by Kennecott. At present there are no air monitors either at the Eagle Mine or anywhere near Big Bay. Rio Tinto / Kennecott’s new Air Quality application asks to remove the air filter controls from the Main Vent Air Raise, which will be used as the only exhaust for all the underground mine workings.

Rio Tinto filed their new Air Quality permit March 20, 2012 and the DEQ Air Quality Division is currently evaluating it. Public hearings for this application have been requested for Big Bay and Lansing.*

Demonstrators display a banner saying, "Rio Tinto Poison Profits Poison PR." See www.greenwashgold.org to read about three women -- an activist from Mongolia, a mother from Utah and an ex-member of the US Olympic bobsled team -- who attended the Rio Tinto AGM to highlight the devastating impact that Rio Tinto-operated mines, which are providing the medals for the 2012 games, are having on their respective countries. (Photo © 2012 by Sallie Dean Shatz of www.shatziephotos.com. Reprinted with permission.)

Zanaa Jurmed, the Director of the Center for Citizens’ Alliance in Mongolia; Cherise Udell, the founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air; and Alexandra Allred, who trained for and made the U.S. women's bobsled team in 1994, attended the Rio Tinto AGM to protest environmental damage and cover-ups by Rio Tinto, which is supplying the gold for Olympic medals. Jurmed and Udell also participated in the launch of the Greenwash Gold 2012 campaign targeting Rio Tinto as well as BP and the Dow Chemical Company for greenwashing to hide environmental damage. The campaign invites the public to vote for the company covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic games.**

The Greenwash Gold group is followed by Utah Moms for Clean Air, who also attended the Rio Tinto AGM to protest impacts of air pollution from the Bingham Canyon Mine near Salt Lake City. (Photo © 2012 by Sallie Dean Shatz of www.shatziephotos.com. Reprinted with permission.)

In Salt Lake City, Utah, Rio Tinto plc operates the world’s largest open pit copper, molybdenum and gold mine. It will provide 99 per cent of the metals for the Olympics. The remaining 1 per cent will come from Rio Tinto’s mine in development in the south Gobi desert in Mongolia. In Utah, Rio Tinto’s Bingham Canyon mine has been linked to large numbers of premature deaths as a result of the air pollution it has been linked to, while in Mongolia the mine is linked to controversial water depletion in a desert area.

A protestor against Rio Tinto's uranium mining joins the demonstration outside the company's AGM in London. (Photo © 2012 by Sallie Dean Shatz of www.shatziephotos.com. Reprinted with permission.)

Rio Tinto's Ranger Uranium Mine in Australia is routinely spilling radioactive water into the surrounding area and is opposed by Aboriginal communities.

The Dow Chemical Company has a long, sordid, history of environmental crimes spanning many decades. It produced Agent Orange to be sprayed upon innocent Vietnamese people; it developed napalm into a lethal weapon of mass destruction; it has bribed officials in order to register banned, dangerous pesticides; and it has regularly poisoned the rivers and the air around its factories.

Dow is also connected to the 1984 Bhopal Gas disaster and the ongoing medical catastrophe -- and the separate issue of toxic pollution that sees, to this day, thousands of people drinking water heavily contaminated with highly dangerous chemicals.***

BP, aside from the Deep Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, is one of the most unsustainable companies on the planet; yet its brand is all over the Olympics. Incredibly, it has landed the prestigious title of "Sustainability Partner" while it is bankrolling educational and cultural initiatives, providing fuel for the Games, and sponsoring many athletes.

BP is entirely focused on extracting every last fossil fuel it can get its hands on, including tar sands, the most destructive industrial project on the planet. Extracting oil from tar sands, besides contributing a huge amount of carbon emissions to climate change, also destroys swathes of boreal forest, uses huge amounts of fresh water, and causes soaring rates of illness in local communities.****



This video from greenwashgold.org asks for your vote against Rio Tinto. (Posted here under Creative Commons permission.)

* See "Two Big Bay residents to address air quality concerns at Rio Tinto London meeting Apr. 19."
Click here to read the Kennecott application on the DEQ website. Also click here to read more about Rio Tinto from Greenwash Gold.

** Click here to read and see videos about the Greenwash Gold campaign and vote for the company covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic games.

*** Read more about Dow Chemical Company.

**** Read more about BP.

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