Sunday, June 6, 2010

U.P. mining venture sparks civil disobedience arrests, comparisons to lax regulation of BP Oil

Near Big Bay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula a proposed nickel mine will inevitably pollute the headwaters of streams feeding Lake Superior. Sulfuric acid and heavy metals leaching into the water are the rule for such “sulfide” mines. This type of mining is relatively new in the Upper Peninsula. It is much different, and more environmentally risky, than the traditional copper and iron mining that is so closely identified with the U.P.

The Kennecott Minerals Co. plan has received most of its approvals, but faces multiple lawsuits and now, escalating civil disobedience from activists who are going to jail for refusing to leave the public lands that have been (illegally they believe) leased to Kennecott:

I defer here to Andy Buchsbaum, head of the National Wildlife Federation’s regional office in Ann Arbor, who notes the similarities between the proposed mine and the BP oil disaster.

“A company with a history of polluting that wants to take valuable resources from deep underground. An industrial extraction operation with high risks to hundreds of miles of coastline, spectacular waters, a vibrant fishery…. and human life. An agency that promotes the industry rather than regulating it. No contingency plan if (when) the operation goes wrong. Sound familiar?”

Andy, goes on to recount the approval process for the mine. It’s a tale … not unlike what we’re learning about BP … of regulators in bed with industry, believing they are working on behalf of the polluting industries rather than for the public. One hid a report that was critical of the mine’s safety precautions. Another left a key government post to work for the mining company.

Here’s Andy’s blog post, with plenty of links to good info about the situation: Here are some links to the groups fighting the mine: and
And, for good measure, here is Kennecott’s site:


No comments:

Post a Comment