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Friday, February 24, 2017

Indigenous Environment Network responds to forced evacuation of DAPL resistance camps

    Standing Rock Camp opposing Dakota Access Pipeline is being evacuated by force. (Photo courtesy Indigenous Environmental Network)
    CANNON BALL, N.D. --At 2 p.m. CT on Feb. 22, 2017, water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp were evicted by the Army Corps of Engineers. Despite efforts from camp leaders requesting more time to clean up the camp, the Army Corps remained firm with its plans to vacate the camp. The Army Corps claims jurisdiction of the land that the camp is located on even though the land is within the unceded Fort Laramie Treaty land and territories.
    Individuals who voluntarily left camp prior to 2 o’clock had the choice to take a bus to be transported to an evacuation center, or relocate to other campsites outside of the eviction zone. Water protectors remaining in the camp now face risk of arrest.
    There are three other campsites in the area for water protectors to relocate to: Sacred Stone, Cheyenne River, and Four Bands camps.

    Various law enforcement jurisdictions were on site including Morton County Sheriff's, North Dakota State Highway Patrol and the North Dakota National Guard and National Park Service Rangers. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Law Enforcement established a traffic checkpoint and barricade on Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation land, on Highway 1806, to the south of the Cannonball River bridge.
    The following is a statement by Tom Goldtooth, the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network:

    "We are appalled by today’s forced evacuations of indigenous people at the Camp at Standing Rock; they are a violent and unnecessary infringement on the constitutional right of water protectors to peacefully protest and exercise their freedom of speech. It hinders the camp cleanup process and creates confusion and chaos that puts the Missouri River at risk of pollution from construction and camping debris.
    "Today’s expulsion is a continuation of a centuries-old practice, where the U.S. Government forcefully removes Indigenous people from our lands and territories. We urge supporters of the water protectors to continue to resist this travesty by organizing mass mobilizations, distributed actions, speaking out against the violations of the Treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation, and continuing to source up the capacity for litigation and grassroots organizing against the Dakota Access pipeline.
    "Our hearts are not defeated. The closing of the camp is not the end of a movement or fight, it is a new beginning. They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started. It burns within each of us. We will rise, we will resist, and we will thrive. We are sending loving thoughts to the water protectors along the banks of the Cannonball River, today. May everyone be as safe as can be."*
    * See #noDAPL on Twitter.
    Editor's Note: See also: NMU prof arrested at Standing Rock.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Unity March participants show support for international members of Michigan Tech community affected by travel ban executive order

Videos and photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now

Carrying signs and flags participants in Michigan Tech's Feb. 9, 2017, Unity March demonstrate their solidarity with international faculty, students, staff and families affected by Donald Trump's Jan. 27 Executive Order 13769. Some marchers wear a white article of clothing as a sign of peace. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Undaunted by frigid temperatures, wind and snow on Feb. 9, 2017, about 300 people joined together at Michigan Tech for a Unity March to show support for friends, professors, students, neighbors, and colleagues from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen. They marched in solidarity with Academics United rallies around the country in opposition to Donald Trump's Executive Order 13769, issued on Jan. 27, 2017 -- a travel ban against immigrants and visitors from these seven Muslim majority countries.

Participants first gathered at the Husky statue on campus, where Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz addressed them with words of welcome and encouragement.

Gathered in the center of campus, Unity March participants listen to a welcoming talk by Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz.

"This is not a protest; this is a celebration," Mroz said. "It's a celebration and a support of the things that we value."

Michigan Tech University President Glenn Mroz greets faculty, students, staff and community members gathered for a Unity March to show support for international faculty, students, staff and families affected by Donald Trump's Executive Order 13769 against immigrants and visitors from 7 countries. Click on YouTube icon for larger video size. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Stephanie Tubman, geoscientist and former Peace Corps volunteer, who introduced President Mroz, noted the importance of carrying the flag in the march.

"Today we carry these flags as a reminder that this country should be for all of us, that immigrants have long contributed to the Copper Country and to our country in general, and that we believe that opportunity for all is a fundamental value of the United States," Tubman said.

Following the welcome from President Mroz, Scott Marratto, Michigan Tech assistant professor of philosophy, spoke about the diversity in the campus community and the need for universities to stand up for democratic, secular values that make that diversity and openness possible.

Scott Marratto, Michigan Tech assistant professor of philosophy, speaks about the important role of universities in supporting diversity and values of truth, openness, tolerance and non-discrimination. Erika Vye, recent Ph.D. graduate in geology, leads the participants in singing "This Land is Your Land," as they begin the march.

Setting out two-by-two, the marchers walked across campus and down College Ave. on the sidewalk to the miner's statue near the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce,

Marchers walk peacefully in a very long line from campus down College Avenue toward downtown Houghton.

After arriving at the miner's statue, marchers return to campus via College Avenue. Passing cars honk in support. Enjoying the snow, several children accompany their parents in the march.

Mojtaba, an international graduate student at Michigan Tech, participated in the march.

"It was not a protest -- just a peaceful march supporting international students and faculty and the value they bring to the community," Mojtaba said. "Enforcement of the order nationwide was temporarily halted by court order, but the news talks about a new ban that will be signed by President Trump on Thursday, instilling incredible fear in all of us."

Sue Ellen Kingsley of Hancock also commented on the march.

"It was gratifying to see the large number of people that showed up in spite of the bitter cold," Kingsley said. "I'm so glad to see how many of us, including the university administration, favor the diversity of our community and commit to defending it."

Michigan Tech has signed a letter the American Council on Education (ACE) circulated to  US higher education institutions regarding the recent executive order on immigration.

The letter is addressed to US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kelly. The body of the letter expresses US higher education’s principles concerning international students, researchers, faculty and staff.

Michigan Tech has launched a new web site regarding President Trump's Executive Order. Click here to visit the site.

Monday, February 20, 2017

DEQ Public Notice: Feb. 22 is deadline for public comments on draft renewal of WHITE PINE COPPER REFINERY Renewable Operating Permit

[Editor's Note: We regret the late posting of this public notice. We just found it today.]


The Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division (AQD) is holding a public comment period until February 22, 2017, on the draft renewal of a Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) under consideration to be issued to WHITE PINE COPPER REFINERY, INC. located at 29784 Willow Road in White Pine, Michigan. The facility’s Responsible Official is Zachary J. Halkola, Chief Operating Officer.

Major stationary sources of air pollutants are required to obtain and operate in compliance with an ROP pursuant to Title V of the federal Clean Air Act of 1990 and Section 5506(1) of Part 55, Air Pollution Control, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The ROP is intended to simplify and clarify a facility’s applicable requirements and compliance with them by consolidating all state and federal air quality requirements into one document. The proposed ROP will result in no emissions change at the facility.

Copies of the draft ROP and the Staff Report are available for inspection at the following locations or you may request a copy be mailed to you by calling or writing the District Office at the address and telephone number listed below:
The AQD Permits Internet Home Page -
Upper Peninsula District Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, Michigan 49855 (Phone: 906-228-2905)
LANSING: Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, Constitution Hall, P. O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7760 (Phone: 517-284-6776)

All persons are encouraged to present their views on the draft permit. Persons wishing to comment or request a public hearing should submit written statements by February 22, 2017 to the attention of Ed Lancaster at the District Office referenced above. The decision maker for the permit is Janis Ransom, Acting Upper Peninsula District Supervisor.

If requested in writing by February 22, 2017, a public hearing may be scheduled.

Comments will also be accepted at the public hearing, if held. Persons needing accommodations for effective participation at the public hearing, if held, should contact Ed Lancaster at the District Office referenced above a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance.

"My Copper Country," paintings by Georgi Tsenov, at Community Arts Center through Feb. 25

Paintings by Georgi Tsenov are now on display in the Copper Country Community Arts Center. The exhibit, "My Copper Country," continues through Saturday, Feb. 25. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock presents "My Copper Country" -- plein air paintings by Bulgarian artist Georgi Tsenov on display through Feb. 25 in the Kerredge Gallery. Tsenov lived in Houghton with his wife and children from 2009 to 2016. While here he was inspired to paint hundreds of paintings and had many exhibitions. He says, "…the Copper Country turned into a golden land for me. I discovered a constellation of wonderful friends and I was happy to live and paint among them."

Georgi Tsenov is the son of a famous Bulgarian sculptor and is from Sofia, Bulgaria. He received his education at the National School of Fine Arts in Sofia. Tsenov is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and has received numerous awards and solo exhibitions in Bulgaria. In April 2011 he had his first exhibition in the United States at the Copper Country Community Arts Center. It was titled, "My New Streets." The current display is his twentieth solo exhibition in the U.S. He and his family currently live in Scotland.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. This exhibit is made possible with a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information call (906) 482-2333 or visit