Dept. rules against native rights, says Eagle Rock isn’t sacred

by January 21, 2010
 

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, has shamelessly and underhandedly given its final approval for Kennecott's proposed Eagle Mine project, a nickel and copper sulfide mine on the Yellow Dog Plains.

In issuing the approval, the MDEQ overstepped the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's treaty rights, and dismissed a 2009 ruling by Administrative Law Judge Richard Patterson, who found that Eagle Rock is a place of spiritual importance to Keweenaw Bay Community and should be protected.

Judge Patterson, in his ruling, stated that both Kennecott and the MDEQ “did not properly address the impact on the sacred rock outcrop known as Eagle Rock” and suggested that they move the mine’s entry point somewhere "away from the rock".

The MDEQ unilaterally decided that the judge’s ruling was unnecessary "...because it pertained to Eagle Rock as a place of worship. They believe that a place of worship must be a building and therefore negates comments that were not in favor of the mining company," explains the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, who works along side the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and others opposed to the mine.

However, the MDEQ did much more than dismiss the ruling and deny the sacredness of Eagle Rock. First, it handed the matter down to a Senior Policy Advisor, who made the decision on his own and just two days before the MDEQ was formally dissolved.

Cynthia Pryor, Campaign Director for the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, comments:

"What just happened here? The DEQ, as party to a State of Michigan Administrative Contested Case process, just unilaterally bypassed both the legal process and Administrative Law Judge Patterson in making a sweeping declaration and finding of law. This sweeping “judgment” was made not by Judge Patterson, not by past DEQ Director Stephen Chester, not by the interim DEQ Director Jim Sygo, but by a Senior Policy Advisor within the DEQ. This was done as a final DEQ action on the matter - on the day before the DEQ was to be dissolved and the new DNRE Director was to take office.

"How blatant can this be? This is the dramatic action of a DEQ that hopes as a last ditch effort to resolve the Kennecott issue and allow this mine on the Yellow Dog Plains - before their authority is superseded by a new agency. Delegation of DEQ Director ‘final decision’ on the matter, was given to Senior Policy Advisor Frank J. Ruswick, Jr. two weeks ago. There was no known correspondence from Judge Patterson to the DEQ, Kennecott or the petitioners during this time frame. But out of the blue, a day before DEQ dissolution, this DEQ policy advisor made a judgment, ruling and order granting Kennecott both a Part 632 mining permit and a ground water discharge permit AND vacating a remand order made by then Director Stephen Chester concerning Eagle Rock as a “place of worship”. A policy advisor of the DEQ became a Judge and a DEQ Director and has so ruled - and we must accept that?

This is an egregious act that now will absolutely require appeal to a higher court and should require an appeal to the new DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries and the Governor of this state. We should not sit by and accept such action as the accepted mode of “lawfulness” in this state.

For more information, please visit: http://savethewildup.org, http://lakesuperiorminingnews.net, http://yellowdogwatershed.org

What You Can Do

To lodge a complaint against the MDEQ's shameful move, contact Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909

PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services
FAX:(517) 335-6863
EMAIL: http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-21995-65331--,00.html

 
  • Billy Jack Douthwright
    January 28, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Ridiculous & so clearly a transgressive mockery of the 'idea' that State law actually exists... do they really expect to be taken seriously?
    Excellent illustrative reporting describing the inherent malfunctioning/falsity of US law regarding indigenous title too!

    It's for the nation who's territory is at issue to decide land use. A mining company would have to have an agreement with the nation, the state & USA have no say & no legal rights to be involved in the matter, it's this simple.

    Reply

  • James Whitecloud
    January 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

    The white man will always do what they have to, to get what they want. They've done this time and time again. With no punishment. They are hell bent on destroying this country and its native peoples. Nothing is sacred to them.

    Reply

  • January 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I am stunned that anyone, in this day and age, could state that a place of worship must be a building! It would be comical if it weren't so tragic!

    And as for bypassing State laws and regulatory bodies, not to mention ignoring native beliefs and values, well I'd like to say this wouldn't happen in Canada. Unfortunately, a proposed mine in British Columbia has just received provincial government approval, stating unequivocally that "consultation with aboriginal people was complete. This, despite the fact that First Nations (aboriginal) people here are in complete disagreement with the mine.

    It's 2010, and you'd think we'd be past this by now. You'd think we'd recognize that places of worship aren't just churches and mosques, and that accomodating doesn't mean ignoring.

    Good luck to Yellowplains in your fight for justice, and to protect the earth.

    Reply

  • February 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I agree with you all...
    I try rationalizing with myself that its 2010 and we are beyond the oppression and abuse towards natives and have found some bone in our body that empathizes for others...but I am completely wrong! It literally sickens me to read this shit. Including other large organizations and corporations such as Walmart that demolish sacred areas. Then there is the whole concern on our environment and what this mining will do to it! I read that they plan to destroy over 31 wetlands; these are irreplaceable and can never be replicated. I don't understand how some of these business men/women think! Do they have no soul?!? I wish I could show them horrific and graphic pictures of the animals/environment, have them meet the actual families they'll be impacting and to have them walk in our shoes for once. I wonder how their parents raised them this way. Granholm, with all due respect (if its due), you have done hardly anything good for or state, aside from the notorious filming incentive, and its shows. Learn how to budget; instead of removing hundreds of small, middle-class and lower jobs, cut out a few people that are up in your level and you'll have more than enough financing! Its a joke. Lord help us, haha!

    Reply

  • Billy Jack Douthwright
    February 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

    That's a good idea Samantha, to take the evidence of the burgeoning knowledge of all facets of the detrimental impacts directly to those 'responsible', since we have the knowledge, the next logical step is to engage directly & fully by taking direct action in coordinated solidarity! In their faces 24/7 until we see that they have 'got it' and make themselves fully educated-sensitized and having become enabled to and begun FULLY =COMPREHENSIVELY demonstrating their sound understanding... Treaties with 'indians' are the supreme law of the land & this, today, does equal an enormous push back since most US states initially came about by settler expansion programs running rough shod over indian & US founding colony treaties!

    Reply

  • Thunderspirit
    February 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I have been monitoring this situation closely and i know that the great spirits are not happy with what is happening to our sacred site out there along with many scared sites all over turtle island and the world for that matter.Their will be powerful repercusssions to every area that sacred sites have been destroyed for the evil buck.It is sad to say that entire areas will be punished for the sins of a few but they are but peas to the watermelon so to speak.If Michigan continues with this desacration the entire state will face the wrath of powerful forces out there.From now on my people all over turtle island if you try to stop desecration of sacred sites and the white man does not heed your warnings stock up on supplies and prepare your homes the best you can for powerful storms will likely strike the effected areas.This is to all tribal people worldwide also prepare for this eventuality,and know that it is not your fault that these things are taking place but that of those who desecrate.Just prepare to wait out the storms.I should of brought this forward sometime ago but i have been monitoring events all around the planet and i know for a fact that our living planet and her allies are not pleased with the actions of these corporations and governments.I have used many names in the past like Windtalker and Shadowwolf to name a few. Thunderspirit will be the chosen name now to get the warnings out to you the best way i know how.I just pray that we can stop the extinction of mankind for their selfish ways.For they the corporations and governments have chosen to go to war against mother nature and she and her allies have answered the call.Continue to try to stop theses desecratersbut know that if your protests or other ways do not work prepare.Prepare to wait out the coming storms and other anomolies.
    May the creator and the great spirits watch over you all and keep you save and fed in these times.

    Reply

    • kelly sheeran
      June 3, 2010 at 9:14 am

      Dear Brother,
      I caution you to "know" the mind of great spirit. You may be doing exactly what the "whites" as you call them, are doing. Please find the Red road in this case. Continue to let your heart break for grandmother and her people, do what you can, but let the creator do the rest ~ whatever that may be. (its rarely what I think it should be, but I have faith. )
      In Love and Gratitude,
      Kelly


  • STEVEN CALHOUN
    May 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    WHEN THE POWERS THAT BE PUSH ON NATIVE AMERICANS AND THEY IGNORE A JUDGES RULING WITHOUT DUE PROCESS, WE HAVE COMMUNISM! THE JUDGE MADE A RULING THAT WAS IGNORED BY THE STATE, WHEN THIS IS A FEDERAL ISSUE, THE STATE SHOULD BE FINED AND PENALIZED LIKE THEY DO EVERYONE OF ITS CITIZENS! WE THE PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF BEING PUSHED AROUND AND LET KENNECOTT, RIO TINTO, CHINALCO, AND THE BILLITEN CO. GO TO HELL. TALK TO THE PEOPLE BEFORE YOU THIN YOU CAN DO WHAT EVER, WHAT ONE WANTS TO DO! SACRED MEANS SACRED! WHO SAYS YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BUILDING FOR WORSHIP! SHOW ME WHERE IT SAYS THAT, PLEASE! YOU MONEY GRABBING PERPS NEED A LESSON IN RESPECT! AND ALSO, THEY CAN GO POLLUTE CHINA, EUROPE, AUSTRALIA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD!

    Reply

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