State of Michigan backs acid mine; ignores tribe and nature: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

An Upper Peninsula American Indian tribe and several other groups are trying to stop the state-sanctioned rape and pillage of Michigan’s northern wilderness by an uncaring mining company and it’s minions.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) strongly opposes the “acid mine” on the Yellow Dog Plains because sulfide mining tramples ceded territorial rights and the treaties of 1842 and 1856. feather graphicNA Cliff carving

The mine is being built not far from the natural depiction of a Native American – that the winds and waves of Lake Superior carved into the cliffs of Presque Isle below the grave of northern Michigan’s most famous American Indian Chief Charles Kawbawgam, last Chief of the Chippewa.  

While sulfuric acid may soon drip like tears from the eyes of this mysterious carving, the real Chief Kawbawgam would undoubtedly be leading the fight against the mine if not for his death about 105 years ago.

 who needs clean water

The state of Michigan gave the Upper Peninsula the worst of all possible Christmas gifts promising unimaginable environmental damage – in exchange for a handful of jobs and the threat of even more sulfide “acid” mining to be followed by uranium.

Continuing their valiant fight for northern Michigan’s valuable wilderness, environmentalists and Native Americans have sued the state to prevent the mine from opening.

Northern Michigan trout, salmon, deer, bear and other wildlife can not speak for themselves, so it’s up to the people to save the woods, streams and lakes of northern Michigan. walking wolveshow could you say the trout

Upper Peninsula turned into Land of Kennecott – short-timers who will pillage our minerals, leave behind an enviro-graveyard – and move their shovels from county to county until most remaining pristine areas of the U.P. are reminiscent of Love Canal or the mining ruins of West Virginia.

It’s pockets full of cash from other environmental savagery, Kennecott Minerals successfully lured the state down a road of environmental ruin.

At issue is a controversial nickel-copper mine between Marquette and Big Bay with six new mine sites proposed within 50 miles of the Eagle Project – and that’s just the beginning.

running wolves follow your instinct

Mqt mine protest 12-17-07

Those who oppose the “acid mine” protested on Dec. 17, 2007 in front of the federal courthouse in Marquette, MI.

(Marquette Mine Protest Rally Photos by Earth Keeper Gail Griffith, Save the Wild UP (SWUP) board member)

mqt mine protest 12-17-07

You see, the international mining giant will be long gone in 7 years or less – after creating less than 100 short-term jobs – and local residents will be left with a huge stain (at best) – and possibly a ruined trout stream feeding a soiled Lake Superior.

The Great 2008 Betrayal: 2008 will be year of Great Betrayal of Michigan northwoods unless lawsuits prevail or mines stopped by those with the power

fishing no great graphic by greg

The ink was barely dry on the promised suit when the owners of the “acid mine” admitted what had been feared all along: similar mines will be popping up like mushrooms in all corners of the U.P. – again trading short-term gain for tourism and recreation.

Many residents call the project an “acid” mine because one of its nasty byproducts is sulfuric acid when the ore hits the air.

acid mine vital grandpa said

Acid Mine Supporters - grandchildren remember you

Just as our railroads and other areas are covered in iron ore pellets – much of the Yellow Dogs Plains near Lake Superior will be covered with acid or other dubious mining leftovers.

At least our iron ore mines are open for a century or more and create thousands of jobs.

Daddy hate us graphic

Did state watchdogs eat bad mushrooms?:

Acid, Uranium Mines to spring up like mushrooms across northern Michigan wilderness

acid lie graphic

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – and democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm – betrayed the people of the Upper Peninsula in mid-December by issuing three permits that will allow the opening of an “acid” mine by the Kennecott Minerals Company.

This time next year northern Michigan’s pristine snow will be mixed with sulfuric acid.

The state’s top environmental watchdog – the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (aka Quitters) – bit the hand that feeds her – tourism!

“Environmental quality” is in the name of the MDEQ – the top state watchdog for Michigan’s gorgeous Upper Pensinula. The agency should be stripped of that name.

How about – MDEQ – Michigan Department of Environmental Quitters?

That way the MDEQ wouldn’t have to change the towels that will soak up the lifeblood of the U.P. – tourism.

Protect the Upper Peninsula and our:

revolving world

Fighting the good fight: KBIC and environmental groups joined by descendants of America’s Industrial Revolution

kbic graphic


The lawsuit was filed by National Wildlife Federation, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), the Huron Mountain Club and the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

Thank you to these groups for taking this fight to a judge.

I recently criticized the ultra-exclusive, pro-business and secretive Huron Mountain Club for not joining the fight as the “acid mine” will lay at its doorsteps.

For joining the lawsuit:

I must now say kudos to the Huron Mountain Club (circa 1890) – a private retreat built by those who led America’s Industrial Revolution – that owns 13,000 protected acres including one of the largest tracts of primeval forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

map of Huron Mountain area

Hurom Mountain enviro research

Thank you to these groups for taking this fight to a judge.

Anatomy of a Murder: Part Two – Site of famous northern Michigan film will be site of mass murder of environment

Anatomy of a murder part duex

“Have you left no sense of decency?”

A movie filmed near the location of the planned “acid mine” even has ties to this country’s fight against tyranny

We hope the Michigan judge, who could stop this “acid mine,” has the common sense of another jurist – Joseph N. Welch – a judge on the screen and in real life – who was portrayed in the famous 1959 movie by Otto Preminger entitled “Anatomy of a Murder” filmed near the site of this mine.

The movie was based on a best selling novel written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice and avid trout fisherman John D. Voelker using the pen name Robert Traver.

A fisherman’s fisherman, Voelker spent most of his life wandering the pristine trout streams of the Upper Peninsula.

In a sad irony this mine will dig beneath one of Voelker’s beloved prime trout streams that feeds Lake Superior.

And some experts fear the stream will collapse into the mine releasing a flood of acid and other pollution that will be pouring into Lake uperior in a flash and then the rest of the Great Lakes.

Welch – who was a judge in real life and portrayed an outspoken judge in “An Anatomy of a Murder” – was the lawyer who defended the U.S. Army against Senator Joseph McCarthy during his 1954 anti-communist witch hunt.

Welch uttered the following famous words – that could be used today to describe the people who are allowing this “acid mine” to proceed at lightening speed:

Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

You can bet the late Judges Voelker and Welch would not let this mine open – and would note its tyranny upon the U.P. wildlife, forests and streams is not unlike the scourage of the McCarthy hearings.

Amen !

Native Americans and the environment groups are livid that Rio Tinto, the parent company of Kennecott, is now targeting six other U.P. sites for mines.

“We had long suspected that this was merely the first in a series of new mines, but hiding that information until after the MDEQ approval was announced is certainly contrary to the ‘good neighbor’ image Kennecott has sought to portray,” said Michelle Halley, an attorney for the National Wildlife Federation and the other co-petitioners

“Whether they knew it or not, the MDEQ and the Governor have egg on their faces,’ Halley said.

MDEQ, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm lay with mongrels whose plans will ruin Yellow Dog Plains and tourism

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality could also stop the project – but right now those who care about the future of the U.P. are hoping a judge will have more common sense that the state of Michigan and our illustrious governor who did nothing to fight the project.

Shame on the MDEQ and Governor Granholm – but there is still time for the state’s top democrat to be a hero.

Kennecott Minerals is hoping to start construction on the mine in January 2008 – but it’s awaiting approval of two permits from the Department of Natural Resources.

Gov Granholm Pix

Disturbing questions:

Why has Governor Granholm kept quiet on the project?

At best, the answer is she is leading a state in the midst of a severe financial crisis – but common sense dictates the effects of these acid and uranium mines will far outweigh any short term gain.

Salmon Trout River pix by Jackie

The mine will dig below the Salmon-Trout River – a prstine fishing stream – and some think it will collapse – mixing acid, other pollution, and clean water.

That pollution will then quickly end up in Lake Superior – and down the chain of Great lakes.

Photo by Jackie Donoho, Northwoods Wilderness Recovery

So I ask again – why is Governor Granholm keeping tight lipped when we need her the most?

Green money means more to the government and media watchdogs than the lush green forests

Why is many members of the northern Michigan media not doing investigative reports on the company, it’s history and the effects of other Kennecott operations across the globe.

And why is the majority of the media not writing strong editorials opposing the ill-advised project.

Could it be the tons of advertising dollars?

Most of U.P. media fail as watchdogs: Editors of good heart – please take a firm stance against this sulfide mine and join this fight against our acidic future

Why have Marquette’s business leaders gone along with the project betraying their forefathers who founded the U.P. and are undoubtedly spinning in their soon-to-be acid soaked graves?

Again, could the green of money be outweighing the burnt orange color that the rivers will turn?

It boggles the mind that U.P. business leaders can betray their own grandchildren – and that Michigan Governor is willing to leave a legacy of destroying the Upper Peninsula.

Mqt Mining Protest Quad

Marquette Mine Protest Rally Photos by Earth Keeper Gail Griffith, Save the Wild UP (SWUP) board member

A plea to actor/director Jeff Daniels: Please film a sequel to Scrooge here and bring the ghosts of Christmas past and future to bear on those who ignore the acid mine effects on our wildlife

I am also disappointed in actor/director Jeff Daniels – who has made U.P. movies and supported local theatres – but has also remained quiet on the aicd mine and is not trying to stop this project.

actor jeff daniels pix

I beg these business leaders, Governor Granholm and Mr. Daniels to look deep into their hearts – the time is now to step forward and stop this looming disaster.

While a real life sequel to the famous movie Anatomy of Murder is being played out in real life here in northern Michigan – maybe Mr. Daniels could film the sequel to another movie classic.

If only the sequel of Scrooge could be filmed here – and have the ghosts of Christmas past and Christmas future scare some sense into these people.

The Great Burnt-Orange North: an acid and uranium mine is coming to the wilderness theatre near you!

Other possible future movie titles if the mines are not stopped:

Pirates of the Yooperland: Northern Carribean turned into acid seaIt’s a Terrible Life – in the once wonderful U.P.: Those responsible for this environmental disaster should all jump off the nearest bridge.

The Sound of Murder: Acid mine is music to ears of greedy, short-sighted.Gone with the Whim: Acid winds blow across yooperland, Marquette is burning.

To Kill a Mockingbird – and the rest of wildlife.

That’s why we mock Kennecott – the great killer of birds and wild life.

Wizard of Odds: U.P. biz leaders gamble with northern Michigan’s future.

Mines, fines, and big-fat-heels: Planes, trains and Automobiles built with northern Michigan iron ore – fish, deer and bears pre-cooked in acid.

If you have an idea for a sequel to northern Michigan’s cinema legacy – let me know.

Great White North to become Borealis version of West Virginia: The Great Burnt-Orange North will be the new nameTell your grandchildren what?Grandpa ruined our future In closing – while I do believe there is still a glimmer of hope – I recommend anyone who has ever thought about visiting the pristine Upper Peninsula had better do it quickly.Because – unless we are saved by the MDNR, the EPA, a judge – in the next few months northern Michigan will become the West Virginia of the Great White North.

Chiefs head

iron eyes cody

The state-sanctioned destruction of pristine northern Michigan wilderness – that the KBIC tribe says violates land treaties – brings to mind this famous photo of the “Crying Indian” – and the tears of “Iron Eyes Cody” – who was not Native American but lived his life dedicated to American Indian causes, adopted two American Indian children and was married to a First Nations woman.

The historic Keep America Beautiful public service announcement – entitled “People Start Pollution, People Can Stop It” – mesmerized TV audiences after it first aired on Earth Day 1971.

More than any other commercial – it helped add momentum to the newly-launched environmental movement.

Many Native Americans – and other U.P. residents are weeping real tears as they are being betrayed for the sake of the almighty dollar.

Mqt Mining Protest quad

Above Marquette Mine Protest Rally Photos by Earth Keeper Gail Griffith, Save the Wild UP (SWUP) board member; photo below courtesy Save the Wild UP.

SWUP protest rally photo

About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
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2 Responses to State of Michigan backs acid mine; ignores tribe and nature: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

  1. flash says:

    This is terrible, I’m with you, how can State leaders let such a thing happen? In Colorado a similar thing is happening on the Roan Plateau – rape and pillage for some gas and oil. I just hope our grandchildren still respect us after they ask us why we did this to Mother Earth.

  2. Jim Connor says:

    NO Mining, NO jobs. It has become absolutely absurd. Tree huggers, dont want power lines, dont want to mine, dont want to log, dont want to develop land but yet drive cars made of steel and other minerals, live in houses made of wood, use power in your house to read a book or watch TV. Cmon, enough is enough. Yes I believe in managed mining and logging etc but to say NO, that is not right either. A lot of people depend on the mining and logging industry to survive and thats the way its been for well over 100 years. Northern Wisconsin is a good example of evironmental extremism, the result, high unemployment, schools struggling to survive, young people moving away to find work. good luck.

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