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E-M:/ MDEQ / Kennecott permit hearings March 6, 7, 8 & 12



 

Dear Michigan,

 

On January 19, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced their preliminary decision to grant air, water, and (sulfide) mining permits to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company.  The MDEQ NEEDS to hear from you about the air, water, and mining permits.  The comment period ends on April 5, please send your written permit comments to Steve E. Wilson, MDEQ, Geological Survey Office, 525 W. Allegan, PO Box 30256, Lansing, MI 48909-7756, or by email to wilsonse@michigan.gov

 

The air and mining permit materials and documents are located on the department website at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3311_4111_18442-130551--,00.html.  Included there are the draft General and Special Permit Conditions that were released a few days ago.    The draft groundwater discharge permit is located at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3313_4117-121556--,00.html.  I’ll post the DNR files when I locate the website where you can access them.  (See below for the list of permits the DEQ and DNR will hear comments on.)  The official public hearing notice is located at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3311_4111_18442-160119--,00.html  Both MDEQ and MDNR staff will be available to hear your comments at all hearings. 

 

For Marquette -- The MDEQ is holding three days of consolidated hearings in Marquette on March 6, 7, & 8 at Northern Michigan University's University Center, in the Michigan and Huron Rooms, from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm and from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Come visit the room down the hall hosted by Sierra Club, MEC, MLCV, and NWF, where you can also get answers to your questions about the permits. 

Also in Marquette – you are invited to a workshop on March 3 sponsored by Sierra Club, MEC, MLCV, and NWF that will be held at NMU's University Center from 1 to 4 pm, in the Cadillac/Brule rooms.  Workshop presenters will cover some of the permit deficiencies and the best ways to make sure your testimony is heard by the DEQ. . 

 

For Lansing – the MDEQ will also hold hearings on March 12 at the Lansing Center from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Also in Lansing – you are invited to a workshop to be held on March 12, also at the Lansing Center down the hall from the hearing room, sponsored by Sierra Club, MEC, MLCV, and NWF that will be held from 11:30am to 12:30pm and from 4:45pm until 5:45pm.  The room will also be open during the hearing.

 

At both hearing locations, the DEQ will hear comments for:  DEQ Air Use Permit; DEQ draft Groundwater Discharge Permit; DEQ proposed decision to grant the mining permit; DNR draft Surface Lease; DNR draft Reclamation Plan. 

 

Note that sulfide mining has never been done without harm to the environment.  The target minerals, nickel and copper, are locked in sulfide ores.  When these are brought to the surface and exposed to air and water, a chemical reaction occurs that results in sulfuric acid.  This can cause changes in pH, making waters more acidic and that in turn can release heavy metals into water.  Both groundwater and surface waters can be harmed, along with aquatic life such as fish and their food organisms, and there’s no reversing this process once it begins.  We believe that Michigan should NOT grant these permits to Kennecott, because Kennecott has not yet met the burden of proof that no harm to our waters will occur.  They’ve also not met the burden of proof that the crown pillar (mine support structure) won’t collapse, and they essentially ignored the MDEQ’s written request for more modeling.  For more information on this, contact Forest Ecologist Marvin Roberson at marvin.roberson@sierraclub.org.   You can also find our first set of comments at www.michigan.sierraclub.org.  

 

We also believe that Michigan’s DNR should not grant a surface use permit to Kennecott to dig their mine hole into.  Kennecott already owns many thousands of acres of surface land, along with thousands of acres of mineral rights.  They should be required to use their OWN land as the preferred alternative -- instead of fencing off OUR public land from OUR public use for 35 years.  See Kennecott’s reclamation plan at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/MiningandReclamationPlan_186442_7.pdf where they explain how they plan to put a fence around over 100 acres of beautiful public land, with a huge KEEP OUT sign, for 35 years.  (I’ll be 80 years old then.  How old will YOU be?)  This is because the alternative of using public land would be less expensive than using their own land, because their land is sandy and gravely, and difficult to dig a shaft into.  But that problem is not our problem, it’s theirs.  It’s just not worth it for a few jobs for a few years.  The Upper Peninsula deserves better, and so do the citizens of Michigan who use and enjoy our beautiful public lands. 

If you feel the same, please write DNR Director Rebecca Humphries and tell her so.  Rebecca Humphries, Director Dept. of Natural Resources, Mason Building, Sixth Floor, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing MI 48909  humphrir@michigan.gov.  The Natural Resources Commission advises Director Humphries, you can write to them as well.  Find their contact info and meeting calendar at http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10366_11862---,00.html

 

 

~Rita Jack

 

><><><><><>><><><><> 

Rita Jack

Water Sentinels Project

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

109 E. Grand River Ave.

Lansing, Michigan  48906

tel:  517-484-2372

www.michigan.sierraclub.org

www.sierraclub.org/watersentinels

 

Make all Michigan's waters fishable and swimmable.

 

 

 

 

 

~Rita Jack

 

><><><><><>><><><><> 

Rita Jack

Water Sentinels Project

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

109 E. Grand River Ave.

Lansing, Michigan  48906

tel:  517-484-2372

www.michigan.sierraclub.org

www.sierraclub.org/watersentinels

 

Make all Michigan's waters fishable and swimmable.