Feb. 16 2011 12:00 AM

An eye on Kennecott

I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit recently filed in federal court against Kennecott Minerals for pollution at the Flambeau Mine site in Wisconsin. As such, I have been interested in keeping tabs on what the company has been telling the people of Michigan about its track record in Wisconsin.

In particular, the company’s Deb Muchmore was quoted in a regional newspaper (Mining Journal, Marquette, MI, July 16, 2009) as saying that Kennecott’s Eagle Project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula can be expected to be built, operated and closed in “a similar outstanding fashion” as the Flambeau Mine.

I surely hope Ms. Muchmore is wrong.

Since 1998, Kennecott’s own data from its Flambeau Mine has shown toxic levels of copper in a detention pond used to collect runoff from the reclaimed mine site. The same pond was used during the mining years to collect highly toxic acid mine drainage and runoff from the open pit mine.

The polluted water in the detention pond discharges into a creek that flows across the mining company’s property to the Flambeau River. I might add that the copper levels in the discharge are not just a little high. They consistently have ranged between 2 and 30 times higher than the copper standard set to protect fish and other forms of aquatic life. Again, this is Kennecott’s own data!

I finally got tired of the failure of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to ticket Kennecott for the violations and properly regulate the pollution at the Flambeau Mine site. That’s why I teamed up with the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council and the Center for Biological Diversity to sue Kennecott in federal court.

All I can say is that if Ms. Muchmore is correct in saying that the Eagle Project will be operated in a similar fashion to what the company did in Wisconsin, the people of Michigan are in big trouble.

— Laura Gauger, Duluth, Minn.

Keep the EITC

As a group of concerned Christian (and Judiac) citizens, we are greatly dismayed to learn of the proposal to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor. Whereas the wealthy pay taxes from their surpluss, elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit would deprive low income families of the ability to pay for basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. We urge you to seek other more fair and equitable means to address the State budget shortfall.

— Nancy Flynn, Lois P. Lynch, Anne M. House, Alvin E. House, Ralph Hepp, Donna Costantino, Mary S. Hennessey, Lawrence Hennessey, Allison K. Dowling, Gregory M. Wierzba, Patricia A. Hepp, Elaine M. Weipert, Mary Ann Dunn, Harold J. Spaeth, E. Michael McMullen, Victor H. Weipert, William Dowling, Henry Blosser, Robert T. Mareck, Joan Wierzba, Maureen K. McMullen, Shirley Tighe Frank, Colleen Hyslop, Rafael Frank.