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E-M:/ News Release--Conservationists call on the DEQ to Include the Public in UP Sulfide Mining Decision

Enviro-Mich message from Brian Beauchamp <brian@michiganlcv.org>

For Immediate Release
January 30, 2007

Brian Beauchamp-Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund-(734)222-9650;904-9915
Andy Buchsbaum- National Wildlife Federation-(734)769-3351, ext. 35
James Clift- Michigan Environmental Council-(517)487-9539 /

Conservationists Call on the Department of Environmental Quality to Include the Public in U.P. Sulfide Mining Decision
/Groups raise concern that sulfide mining permit is being drafted without input from the majority of the State’s citizens/

In a letter sent to officials at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Lansing, a coalition of conservation and environmental groups called for public participation in the State’s proposed decision to issue a sulfide mining permit to Kennecott Eagle Mineral Corp. for a mine northwest of Marquette. The letter was signed by over ten statewide organizations and a long list of business leaders in southeast Michigan calling on the Governor and the DEQ to hold a public hearing in Lansing to give downstate residents a chance to voice their concerns over the current proposal.

“It would be a real travesty if the DEQ sticks with their current plan of holding no public hearings in the Lower Peninsula. People who live south of the Mackinac Bridge care deeply about the U.P. They have real concerns about a proposed mine that would degrade what many consider to be God’s country. They have a right to be heard,” said Andy Buchsbaum from the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Office in Ann Arbor.

On January 9, 2007, the DEQ issued a preliminary approval to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Corp. to open a metallic sulfide mine beneath the headwaters of the Salmon Trout River near Lake Superior outside of Marquette. The decision has drawn much criticism from citizens across the state, both in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, due to the fact that this type of mining always results in significant acid mine drainage or heavy metal contamination, both of which adversely impact wildlife, human health and fisheries.

“The current application under review does not meet the standards set by Michigan’s tough sulfide mining laws. The burden of proof that this mine can be done safely with no impact on the local environment lies on the mining company. This application falls far short of that,” said James Clift from the Michigan Environmental Council.

Public hearings on the decision have been scheduled only in Marquette, MI for March 6, 7, and 8. “This is a state-wide issue with implications for the Great Lakes and all of Michigan. The fact that there are currently no public hearings scheduled in the Lower Peninsula is an indication that the DEQ and the Governor are trying to push this permit through under the radar, without the public noticing,” said Lisa Wozniak from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.


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