Friday, February 12, 2016

Save the Wild U.P.: Will Michigan DEQ reject fraudulent Back Forty mine permit?

"Don’t Undermine the Menominee River!" -- an informational forum reviewing the Back Forty sulfide mine proposal and what’s at stake -- will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in the Shiras Room of the Peter White Public Library in Marquette. (Poster courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

From Save the Wild U.P.
Posted Feb. 5, 2016, on savethewildup.org
Reprinted with permission. 

MARQUETTE --  Grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) has announced that they will be asking Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to reject Aquila’s Back Forty mine permit application. SWUP is raising alarming questions about false or contradictory statements made in Aquila Resources’ Back Forty mine permit application. Aquila plans on developing an open pit sulfide mine on the Menominee River, extracting rock, processing ore -- containing lead, zinc, copper, gold and other heavy metals -- with flotation, cyanide and smelting, and dumping their waste on the banks of Upper Michigan’s largest watershed.

The Back Forty mine permit application -- over 37,500 pages, including the environmental impact assessment -- is currently under review by the MDEQ. Concerned citizens, regional environmental organizations, and the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin are also scrutinizing the permit.*

When reviewing any mine proposal, one basic question must be answered: "What is the proposed Life of Mine (LOM)?" In order to correctly calculate a mine’s risks, benefits and cumulative environmental impacts, an accurate LOM estimate is essential. According to Aquila’s permit application, "The (Back Forty) Project will be an open pit mining operation" and the “Life of Mine (LOM) operation is planned to be approximately 7 years."

This is misleading. Elsewhere, Aquila describes the Back Forty project as having a "16 year life of mine (LOM), of which 12.5 Mt is open-pit and 3.6 Mt is underground." Back Forty is described as a 16 year mine in Aquila’s press releases, in communications with the Menominee Indian Tribe, and in letters to investors and local community leaders. According to their Project Fact Sheet: "we support a transparent process(…) visit our website at aquilaresources.com/projects/back-forty-project for more information." Visitors to Aquila’s website find a 16 year mine described.

"Apparently, the only folks who haven’t been told about Aquila’s 16 year open pit and underground mining plan are the DEQ regulators who are busy at this very moment, reviewing Aquila’s application for a 7 year open pit mine," said Kathleen Heideman, SWUP president.

Significantly, the 16 year LOM is described in Aquila’s current NI 43-101 report, required by Canadian Securities Administrators.

"Aquila’s NI 43-101 report should be used by Michigan regulators to truth-test whether this company is being 'open and transparent' concerning the Back Forty project," said Michelle Halley, Marquette attorney and member of Save the Wild U.P.’s advisory board.

Diagram from Aquila's NI 43-101 report. (Image courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

Is Aquila lying To state regulators? Should DEQ Care?

Aquila’s application asserts that mining and milling facilities are scaled to accommodate the life of the mine. By minimizing LOM, the company can misrepresent all of the mine’s impacts, including tailings capacity, size of waste rock storage areas, total limestone needed for neutralizing total waste rock, total need for importing and storing cyanide and other chemicals used in the processing of the ore, total crushing and processing throughput, milling equipment capacity, water treatment plant capacity, dewatering and draw-down estimates, air pollution quantities, noise, pit backfilling estimates, remediation planning, post-closure timelines, and more.

"The Back Forty mine application raises more red flags than I can count -- critical oak savannas, sturgeon fisheries, treaty-protected natural resources, and indigenous archaeological sites will be threatened or destroyed by this mining operation," said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP’s executive director. "Sulfide mines are known to pollute indefinitely. This mine doesn’t belong on the Menominee River."

Aquila's application indicates the project will not include underground mining. Click on image for larger version. (Figure courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

By claiming that "no underground mining" will occur, Aquila’s application sidestepped valid regulatory concerns under Michigan’s Part 632 rules governing sulfide mining. In the application checklist, underground items were marked "not applicable," and Aquila skipped questions about Subsidence, Impacts to Public or Private Water Supply Wells, Closure of Openings and more, stating "project does not include an underground mine as such contingency planning for subsidence is not required." In the permit application, Aquila flatly states "underground mining was considered but rejected (…) underground mining is not a prudent alternative for this ore body. The shallowness of the ore body, specifically the shallow ore zones, heavily influences the effectiveness of open pit mining."
Heideman noted Aquila has ruled out underground mining only in their permit application, not in other documents.**

"Are they talking out of both sides of their mouth?" she asked. "It undermines their credibility."

"The Aquila Back Forty project must not be permitted on the basis of a fraudulent permit application for a short-lived open pit mine, only to have the company request endless revisions until Back Forty’s open pit gradually morphs into an unrecognizable and potentially unregulated underground mine," warned Maxwell.

The Back Forty mine permit application for a 7 year mine appears misleading and inaccurate, at best, and fraudulent at worst. Aquila’s clear intent -- expressed in every document except their mine permit application -- is to develop a 16 year mine. Tacking on a subsequent underground mining phase could increase the mine’s life by a factor of 129 percent, forcing dramatic and non-public-involved revisions to every aspect of the permit application currently under review by the State of Michigan.

"If Aquila affirms that this 7 year open pit LOM is accurate, and defends the permit application, all public statements containing the Back Forty’s 16 year life of mine estimate should be viewed as baseless or fraudulent statements, designed to attract investors and gain greater political and community support," said Heideman.

Maxwell added, "Misinformation about the 'life of mine' has infected this permit application. We are asking DEQ regulators to act promptly to dismiss Aquila’s mine permit application, given the inaccurate statements. Public trust in our regulatory process is at stake."

DEQ Public Comment Deadline extended; info sessions to be held

Public Comment Deadline has been EXTENDED to February 16! -- Concerned citizens and other interested persons are urged to submit written comments by mail or e-mail until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. Mail your comments to MDEQ Back Forty Mine Comments, Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, Michigan, 49855; or by email to Joe Maki: makij3@michigan.gov.

Save the Wild U.P. and Front 40 will host "Don’t Undermine the Menominee River!" -- an informational forum reviewing the Back Forty sulfide mine proposal and what’s at stake. The forum will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in the Shiras Room of the Peter White Public Library in Marquette.

NEW:  DEQ Information Session -- MDEQ staff have been asked to hold an additional educational session for the public, concerning Aquila’s Back Forty Mine Permit Application. This meeting is tentatively schedule to take place at 7 p.m. CST on March 9, 2016, at the Lake Township Hall Co. Rd. 577/G-12, Stephenson, MI 49887. For confirmation, contact Joe Maki: makij3@michigan.gov -- for directions, contact Lake Township at 906-753-4385.

* Concerned citizens are invited to TAKE ACTION by signing a letter from Save the Wild U.P. asking Michigan DEQ to deny Aquila Resources’ Back Forty mine permit application, in light of serious and fundamental misrepresentations. Click here to read and sign the letter.

** See Aquila's Web site for statements about the underground mine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Michigan communities are passing Line 5 Pipeline Resolutions

Lon Johnson, Democratic candidate for Michigan's First District congressional seat, reports that all across Northern Michigan and the U.P. communities are passing resolutions in relation to the Enbridge Line 5 Oil Pipeline. 

"With the Flint Water crisis still dominating the headlines, there is a growing concern that elected officials in Lansing care more about their own jobs than about the safety of their citizens," said Johnson. "That is why all across Northern Michigan and the U.P., communities are passing these resolutions."

While every resolution has been unique in its language and concerns, these local governments and communities understand the risks posed by Enbridge Line 5 and are seeking solutions ranging from an outright shut down to an independent review of the pipeline’s safety by a panel of experts.

"Flatly put, we can’t blindly trust politicians and corporations with the safety of our Great Lakes," Johnson added. "Trust must now turn to vigilance. Let's all take action. Now."

On Monday, Feb. 1, the City of Traverse City passed a rigorous resolution to stop the transportation of oil under the Great Lakes. This is the 15th municipal resolution passed in Michigan and there are many more in the works. The Traverse City resolution also supports Michigan House Resolution 182 calling for a shut down of Line 5. In addition, the City sent a letter of concern about the risk of a rupture in the Straits to Governor Snyder.*

Thus far, Michigan communities that have passed resolutions include these:
Alcona County, City of Cheboygan, Chippewa County, Cheboygan County, Emmet County, Genesee County, Krakow Township, City of Mackinac Island, Mentor Township, Munising Township, Presque Isle County, Presque Isle Township, City of Traverse City, Tuscarora Township, Wayne County, West Bloomfield Township.

In order to assist local communities, Lon Johnson has created a website with a sample resolution, copies of resolutions passed in other communities, as well as a packet of information about the pipeline.

This website can be found at:  http://www.lonjohnson.com/#!line-5/fcnd8

The Oil and Water Don't Mix coalition now lists 16 communities that have passed resolutions calling for the shutdown of the flow of oil through Line 5. Oil and Water Don't Mix also offers information and assistance with passing a similar resolution in your community. Click here for info.

The state of Michigan on Feb. 8 said it is extending the public comment period on two draft requests for information and proposals (RFIs) that will be issued for prospective contractors who are interested in performing an independent risk analysis and an independent alternatives analysis related to the pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac known as Enbridge Line 5. Comments on the draft documents are now due by Feb. 16, 2016. Click here for info on this update.

* Click here to read the Traverse City resolution and letter to Gov. Snyder.

Inset photo: Lon Johnson, Democratic candidate for Michigan's First District congressional seat. (Photo courtesy Lon Johnson campaign)

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Torch Lake Watershed Project Public Meeting to be Feb. 10; DEQ, Michigan Tech researchers present findings on PCBs, more ...

By Michele Bourdieu

This sign was designed and posted by the Torch Lake Township board to advise visitors of the hazards at Hubbell Beach near the old town dump. These wastes can be seen in the shallow water near the swimming area. (Photo courtesy Amy Keranen, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Remediation and Redevelopment Division)

LAKE LINDEN -- What do you know about the Torch Lake Watershed, the Torch Lake Superfund and stamp sand, the Torch Lake Area of Concern, PCBs and fish advisories, ongoing research and remediation of contaminated sites in the area? The Torch Lake Watershed Project public meeting is one way to learn about these issues and to become involved in a community effort to plan the future of this area.

The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) will host a Torch Lake Watershed Project Public Meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in the Lake Linden-Hubbell School Auditorium, 601 Calumet St., Lake Linden. This meeting is free and open to the public and all interested people are invited to attend.

This community meeting continues the informational sessions started in 2015 and will provide the community with background on the environmental issues of Torch Lake and its watershed including PCBs and their historic origins.

This map shows areas tested for PCBs in and around Torch Lake. Green circles indicate sediment locations; purple triangles are soil locations; and blue square indicates groundwater detection. Michigan Tech Professor Carol MacLennan discussed this cluster of PCBs in her Jan. 19, 2016, presentation at Carnegie Museum. See video below. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

No preregistration is required; however, RSVP is appreciated. To RSVP or to obtain more information, contact Meral Jackson at HKCD at (906) 482-0214, or email  meral.jackson@macd.org.

Guest speakers will be Michigan Tech Professors Noel Urban (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Carol MacLennan (Social Sciences). They will provide information on what some of the current environmental concerns are at Torch Lake -- where they are and how they got there -- and will discuss the development of a Torch Lake Watershed Management Plan. The second Torch Lake Watershed Project Public meeting in 2016 will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, at the same location.

May 2015 Torch Lake Watershed informational meeting: videos, photos

Map of the Torch Lake Watershed, presented at the May 26, 2015, informational meeting. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Last May HKCD held a Torch Lake Watershed informational meeting at Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center with presentations by HKCD President Gina Nicholas, Michigan Tech Emeritus Professor of Geological Engineering and Geology Bill Rose and Michigan Tech Professor of Anthropology Carol MacLennan. Here is an excerpt from Gina Nicholas' introduction to the concept of the Torch Lake Watershed at that meeting:

Gina Nicholas, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District president, presents the concept of the Torch Lake Watershed Project during an informational meeting May 26, 2015, at Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center. Click on YouTube icon for larger screen. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Nicholas then introduced Bill Rose, who spoke about the geology of the Torch Lake Watershed -- how the lake and rivers that empty into it were formed and more.

During the May 26 Torch Lake Watershed informational meeting, Bill Rose, Michigan Tech emeritus professor of geological engineering and geology, speaks about the geology of the Torch Lake Watershed, including the Keweenaw Fault. (Photo by Keweenaw Now) *

Following Rose's geology presentation at the May 26, 2015, meeting, Carol MacLennan gave a detailed presentation on the history of the industrial mining on Torch Lake and the problems that have resulted from the mining waste.

Key points in Carol MacLennan's presentation on the history of the Torch Lake industrial site and problems of pollution that still remain from mining-related activities. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Community members asked questions about several issues, including the problem of building on remediated stamp sand:


Following her presentation on the history of Torch Lake industrial sites at the May 26, 2015, Torch Lake Watershed informational meeting, Michigan Tech Professor Carol MacLennan fields an audience question concerning requirements for building on remediated stamp sand. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

MacLennan also spoke about local legacy mining issues and moderated a group discussion at the Oct. 8, 2015, annual meeting of Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK).

Carol MacLennan gives an overview of the Torch Lake mining waste issues during the Oct. 8, 2015, annual meeting of Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK). (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Linda Rulison, president of FOLK, told Keweenaw Now why the local environmental group is participating in the Torch Lake Watershed project.

"We were interested in getting a watershed project going because we believe the Torch Lake area has been neglected too long and that the watershed development is a good way of addressing the environmental problems by looking beyond the lake -- at what is going on in the watershed that feeds Torch Lake," Rulison said.

Bill Rose leads geoheritage tour of Keweenaw stamp sand sites

On July 30, 2015, Bill Rose led a Keweenaw geoheritage tour, "Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior Today," that included Torch Lake. Here is how he explained how stamp sand became a man-made delta in Torch Lake:

During his July 30, 2015, geoheritage tour of stamp sand in the Keweenaw, Bill Rose, Michigan Tech emeritus professor of geological studies, explains how stamp sand in Torch Lake forms man-made deltas. The tour group gathers near Torch Lake in Lake Linden, Michigan. Michigan Tech Professors Carol Mac Lennan and Charles Kerfoot accompany the tour and add their expertise. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Rose, along with Michigan Tech Professor of Biology Charles Kerfoot and Professor of Anthropology Carol MacLennan, took the tour group to see the remains of the last stamp mill that operated in the Keweenaw near what is now Tamarack City. Here they discuss the closing of the nearby Hubbell Beach and other areas where PCBs have been found through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) ongoing Abandoned Mining Wastes project, directed by Amy Keranen, DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division senior environmental quality analyst:

Bill Rose, Michigan Tech emeritus professor of geological engineering and sciences, leads his July 30, 2015, geoheritage tour to a historic stamp mill site near Tamarack City on Torch Lake. He is joined by Michigan Tech professors Charles Kerfoot (biology) and Carol MacLennan (anthropology), who talk about PCB pollution in the area. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

The tour group then walked out on a windy peninsula of the Superfund site of remediated stamp sands and discussed the EPA's efforts to cover the stamp sand. Later they rode on Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz to explore areas of Torch Lake and to view the Gay stamp sands from Lake Superior.

During his July 30, 2015, geology tour, "Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior Today," Bill Rose, Michigan Tech professor emeritus of geological engineering and sciences, joined by Professors Kerfoot and MacLennan, speaks about the stamp sand in Torch Lake and the EPA Superfund project to remediate it. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Carol MacLennan speaks on "Mine Polluted Waters" at Carnegie Museum

More recently Carol MacLennan presented "Mine Polluted Waters: What are our Options?" on Jan. 19, 2016, as part of the Carnegie Museum's Keweenaw Natural History Lecture Series. She gave an updated historical presentation on Torch Lake areas of contamination and the present efforts of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to locate and remediate some of these sites. She also described community action by a New Mexico group of citizens that has made progress in remediating mine pollution.

Here are some video excerpts from her presentation:

During her Jan. 19, 2016, presentation "Mine Polluted Waters: What are our Options?" at the Carnegie Museum, Carol MacLennan, Michigan Tech University professor of anthropology, points out areas of PCB contamination left from copper mining activities near Torch Lake. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Carol MacLennan talks about clusters of PCBs detected near Torch Lake and ongoing Michigan DEQ studies into the sources of PCB contamination in the area. 

Here MacLennan speaks about the 800 barrels left in Torch Lake from mining activities. Joining the discussion is Charles Kerfoot, Michigan Tech professor of biology, who has studied mining waste contamination in Torch Lake.

Citing an example of a community in New Mexico that has actively participated in solving problems of mining waste, MacLennan notes the importance of community organization and long-term involvement.

During the question period following her presentation, MacLennan discusses concerns about health issues related to Torch Lake pollution from mining wastes.

"Notes from the desk of Amy Keranen"

In her talks, MacLennan mentioned the work of Amy Keranen, senior environmental quality analyst for the Michigan DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division, in locating areas of PCBs along the Torch Lake shoreline through soil and sediment analysis.

Last year Keranen told Keweenaw Now that MacLennan's historical research has been helpful for her DEQ Abandoned Mining Wastes (AMW) project.

"We used Carol's research to confirm where our samples should be -- targeting areas of waste streams and disposal areas," Keranen said.

On Feb.1, 2016, Keranen published a newsletter, "Notes from the desk of Amy Keranen,"  reporting on her AMW project team's progress in the past year.

Keranen begins with comments on the DEQ Open House she held at the Lake Linden School in May 2015.

During her May 13, 2015, Open House in Lake Linden, Amy Keranen, right, chats with Lake Linden (and Washington, DC) resident James Gekas, who grew up in Lake Linden. Gekas asked about the safety of local beaches for his grandchildren. Also pictured is Kathy Shirey, DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division Field Operations Section chief for western Michigan. (Open House photos by Keweenaw Now)

"We were able to show the tools we use to conduct our investigations and share the findings of our 2014 on-land and in-lake work," Keranen writes. "We received a lot of feedback from attendees who said they appreciated the opportunity to talk one-on-one with project team members to get their questions answered and receive information directly. Others preferred to just listen in or to look around and take in the information for themselves."

Clifton Clark, DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Field Operations supervisor for the U.P. District, is pictured here with an underwater camera he purchased for the state. "I'm really impressed with the quality of the team that's been put together (for this project) -- Amy, Weston and our own Geological Services Unit in Lansing," Clark said.

Jeremy Brown of the DEQ Geological Services Unit in Lansing is pictured here near the Lake Linden School during the Open House with the geoprobe he operated for collecting soil samples last spring.

Sharon Baker, right, of DEQ Office of the Great Lakes, who has been working on Torch Lake Area of Concern issues, chats with Linda Rulison, president of FOLK, and a visitor during the Open House.

Keranen estimates between 60 and 100 visitors attended the Open House last May.

"That is a large turnout for an event like this, considering public meetings regarding Torch Lake in the recent past have drawn only 10-15 attendees," Keranen notes. "Given this response and interest, we plan to hold another open house in the spring of 2016."

Keranen's current project goes beyond the Superfund project of covering the stamp sands.

"The continued presence of PCBs in Torch Lake is preventing the recovery of the Torch Lake ecosystem and keeps it from being delisted as an Area of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement," Keranen explains. "In addition, other potential environmental and human health risks are present which require further evaluation and possible clean-up."

Horst Schmidt, right, of FOLK, and visitor Jim Conroy of Omaha, who is working with the Keweenaw National Historical Park, study one of the maps of Torch Lake on display at the Open House.

Last summer Keranen's team sampled the former Calumet Stampmill properties, most of which are located on the Houghton County Historical Society's museum property.

"Our investigations found that asbestos is widespread on the foundation of the former stampmill, which is located inside of the railroad tracks used by the historic society to give train rides throughout the summer and fall," Keranen reports. "Due to the extent of the asbestos and the costs associated with clean up, we have requested that the EPA Emergency Response Branch manage this asbestos project. The museum operators have indicated that access to this area of the property will be prohibited until the asbestos is cleaned up."

This map shows the Calumet and Hecla Lake Linden project area. The key issues here are with asbestos at the former Calumet Stampmill; PCBs, asbestos and metals in the former Hubbell Smelter area; a small area of asbestos in a dump in Tamarack City; and, PCBs in sediments in the lake at Lake Linden and Hubbell. (Map courtesy Michigan DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division and Weston Solutions. Reprinted with permission.)

According to the newsletter, in the Lake Linden Recreation Area, the team's 2014 sediment PCB detections were found in water 14’ - 24’ deep, not within the swimming or wading area. In response to July 2015 concerns from Lake Linden Village residents about swimming at their beach, Keranen reports the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) review of new data did not identify any new concerns.

"Based on the location and depth of PCBs in the Lake Linden Recreation Area, the risk posed by PCBs is to aquatic organisms - not to a typical beach user," she explains.

The project focus in 2015 was in the Calumet and Hecla Tamarack City Operations Area, where PCBs are less of a problem than in the Lake Linden area, Keranen notes, though the team continues to find asbestos.

Tamarack City Trail asbestos: This photo shows an area where asbestos from an old steam pipe was left behind after the pipe was removed and the mines shut down. As part of addressing the asbestos, the DEQ capped the former railroad grade and brought in soil and grass seed. (Photo courtesy Amy Keranen, Michigan DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division)

The newsletter reports key findings related to PCBs within and adjacent to Torch Lake include the following:
  •  In the Hubbell Processing Area, PCB contamination is present in debris, charred waste materials, waste piles, soil, surface water and groundwater.
  • These materials are subject to migration into Torch Lake via erosion channels on the ground surface that lead to holes in the former coal dock bulkhead.
  •  Off-shore sediment sampling confirmed that PCBs are present in Torch Lake sediment in front of the former Hubbell smelter and coal dock as well as off-shore of the former leach plant in Lake Linden.
Keranen's team plans the following investigation and clean up work for 2016:
  • Developing engineering estimates and designs for the Hubbell Processing Area (the former Coal Dock and Mineral Building properties), pertaining to PCB-containing materials, asbestos and drums. Until conditions at the site can be improved, the public should avoid accessing this private property without taking appropriate precautions.
  • Conducting geophysical investigations of suspected buried waste in the Tamarack City area (to determine the extent of waste buried in the stampsands).
  • Developing plans to address an old dump area containing asbestos in the Calumet and Hecla Tamarack City area.
  • Conducting additional underwater camera work in the Hubbell area; and,
  • Conducting in-lake side-scan sonar investigations in the "Quincy-Mason" area of the AMW project, in advance of the on-land investigation anticipated in 2017.
  • The EPA Emergency Response Branch is working on asbestos issues at the former Calumet Stampmill.**
 Notes:
 
Click here for our video clip from Bill Rose's presentation on the Keweenaw Fault.

** The above information is reprinted with permission from Amy Keranen's Fall-Winter, 2015-2016, Newsletter.

Monday, February 08, 2016

State extends public comment period on draft documents related to analyses of Mackinac Straits pipelines

LANSING -- The state of Michigan today, Feb. 8, said it is extending the public comment period on two draft requests for information and proposals (RFIs) that will be issued for prospective contractors who are interested in performing an independent risk analysis and an independent alternatives analysis related to the pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac known as Enbridge Line 5. Comments on the draft documents are now due by Feb. 16, 2016.

The Pipeline Safety Advisory Board has reviewed previous drafts of these proposals and provided input. Additionally, the proposals have been available via the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board website for several weeks.*

The analyses were recommended by the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force in July 2015.** Implementing the recommendations of the task force continues as the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board works toward ensuring the safety, upkeep and transparency of issues related to Michigan’s network of pipelines.***

* Click here for links to the draft RFIs. Instructions for submitting comments are also located there (though the deadline so far has not been updated on that page). Comments can also be submitted from the Oil and Water Don't Mix Web page.

** Click here for the Pipeline Task Force report and related documents.

*** Click here for info on the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board.

Editor's Note: This is an update to our Feb. 5, 2016, article from the Oil and Water Don't Mix coalition: "Oil and Water Don't Mix: More time needed to examine proposals on future of Enbridge Line 5 in Mackinac Straits."

Honoring a Proud Tradition: Black History Month at Michigan Tech

Poet J Mase III from Seattle will be at Michigan Tech Thursday and Friday, Feb. 11-12, to lead workshops on solidarity and poetry. He will give a spoken word/poetry performance at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, in the Memorial Union Ballroom. (Poster courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Mary LeDoux, Michigan Tech News student writing intern
Posted Feb. 8 on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted with permission

HOUGHTON -- We have all heard of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, to name just a few famous African Americans. It is the contributions of such well-known and many lesser-known African Americans that we honor during Black History Month.

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, known as the "Father of Black History Month," originally established Negro History Week to raise awareness of the contributions African Americans have made, and continue to make, to the development of our nation. As a son of slaves, Woodson knew first-hand the value of education. He earned his PhD from Harvard University in 1912, the second African American to have done so. A half century later, in 1976, the month of February was designated as Black History Month.

Michigan Technological University also honors the African American community during Black History Month. Throughout the month of February, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) has collaborated with students of color in creating a social media photo campaign at www.facebook.com/CDI atTech. Showcased in the exhibit are organizations and students of color throughout Michigan Tech’s history. Anyone wanting to get involved in this project should stop by the center.

The following activities will take place on campus in honor of Black History Month:

Thursday, Feb. 11 -- Self-described black/trans/queer poet J Mase III from Seattle will lead a solidarity workshop from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Wadsworth Hall Café Annex (G11w).

Friday, Feb. 12 -- Poet J Mase III will conduct a poetry workshop from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Building Alumni Lounge.  At 7 p.m. that night, he will give a spoken word/poetry performance in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

Wednesday, Feb. 24 -- The Spike Lee film Malcolm X will be shown at 6 p.m. in Fisher Hall 135.

All activities and displays are free and open to the public.

CDI program coordinator Zachary Rubinstein said the purpose of the Black History Month programs is "to bring awareness of the contributions of African American organizations and students to Michigan Tech’s history and the important role they will play in its future. They represent our past, present and future." He hopes that the surrounding community as well as the campus will participate in the events.

An African American Student's View:

To fifth-year English major D’mitri Williams, Black History Month "means that my accomplishments, no matter how small, are worth being recognized. This recognition inspires me to be bigger than myself."

Is enough being done to honor black history? Williams noted any recognition of the accomplishments made by people of color is a good start.

"Yet it is not enough. There is so much, and so many not being recognized," he added. "Becoming the best me I can be allows me to give the best back to the community. The more we allow people to exist with stereotypes, the more they are limited. By being a good role model, we can make this better."

Williams suggested that Michigan Tech might consider weekend extracurricular activities throughout the month that would provide an opportunity to learn about black culture and accomplishments.