Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Environmental regulators [sic/sick] caught pushing mine on WI-MI river

Be outraged, but not surprised.

The corrupted behavior of federal and Michigan officials and the environmental protection agencies they have handed over to corporate control is now on full display as toxic metallic mining appears imminent on the shoreline of the Menominee River - - 
Menominee River | Tom Young

- - and close to Lake Michigan, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.
Upper Peninsula mine approved despite major concerns from DEQ and EPA staff, records show
Over and over, Michigan environmental regulators sounded alarms as they reviewed a proposed large, open-pit ore mine in the Upper Peninsula near the Menominee River, prized for walleye fishing and a major tributary to Lake Michigan. The mine would send acidic mining wastes into the river and surrounding waterways, which would then spill into the Great Lake, staff said. More acres of wetlands would be harmed than the mining company was projecting, evaluators found.
Then the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and then-Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the mine anyway.
And if you think Flint, lead/DEQ, that agency disregard for public health should not surprise you.

I have followed this threat to the Menominee River and posting about it several times, including here and earlier, here:

Get ready for metal mining in Wisconsin watersheds

Mine opponents put up this display on Lakeshore State Park visible from Summerfest in 2017.  

And in case you're wondering, yes, this is the same Trump-managed-and-demolished version of the US EPA that just greenlit through a sleazy 'review' large-scale toxic mining which is sure to seep into the Boundary Waters' wilderness area.

Does this headline about the mine, and Trump's daughter and son-in-law surprise you?

Javanka’s Billionaire Landlord May Get Permission to Mine Near Minnesota Boundary Waters
And, yes, I referred to these supposed environmental agencies as "corrupted."

Too strong a word? Consider this piece about the Boundary Waters mining permit: 
Stepp’s chief of staff, Kurt Thiede, who previously worked for her in Wisconsin, was asked in the Minnesota review to stall submitting written comments from the EPA on the proposed mine until after the period for submitting public comments had ended. That move in effect made those comments secret until environmental groups sued....
Kevin Pierard, a senior official in the EPA’s Chicago office, told Minnesota regulators that the proposed permit didn’t have numeric limits on how much pollution could be in discharges from the mine. He also said the discharges would exceed federal health and aquatic life standards for mercury, copper, arsenic, cadmium and zinc.
Pierard’s comments were read over the phone to Minnesota regulators so they wouldn’t appear in the official record, a move former EPA attorney Jeffry Fowley said was “seriously improper conduct.” Fowley said the permit is “an end-run around the … requirements of the Clean Water Act.”
What do you think would have happened to the land, water and people in pristine Penokee Hills in northwest Wisconsin had Scott Walker won for a campaign key donor the right to dynamite and dig continent's largest open-pit iron ore mine close to Lake Superior and Ojibwe rice-growing waters for 35 years.

And, yes, the privileges being awarded to the Canadian mining firm on the Michigan side of the Menominee River are being gifted by same EPA region now run by Cathy Stepp, former McDonald's store manager who eagerly served as Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' tool atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for seven years.

Where she implementing the same business bellhopping for a Wisconsin billionaire and Walker campaign donor so he could obtain acreage within a popular state park on the shores of Lake Michigan for golf course construction.

Again, does this headline surprise you?

Ex-DNR Employee Says Agency Was Pressured to Approve Big Donor’s Golf Course
This handing over public land and water rights for business control and exploitation continues to be Trump's M.O. - - yesterday's horror story involves making it easier to harm endangered species - - and Walker helped show him how it's done

Here's a partial, 2018 list of Walker lessons absorbed by the president for whom Walker bows:

5. Trump is withdrawing federal protections for waterways - - and the environment, broadly.
While Walker rolled back phosphorous discharge rules and manure runoff enforcement. And Walker also signed legislation releasing 100,000 wetland acres from state protections, exempted Foxconn from routine wetland, legal and environmental procedures - - all part of his broad attack on the environment, summarized here
Hence this 21-part series"Walker's 8-year war on the Wisconsin environment" - - covering clean water, fresh air, critical wetlands, public trust wildlife, science, information, expertise, budgets and basic transparent fairness - - will close out today, a week before voters decide whether Walker's war on the environment ends after eight years, or runs to an even dozen.
6. Trump is weakening clean air rules and boosting coal-fired electrical generation, while Walker joined litigation against federal clean air initiatives and got Pruitt to exempt enough of SE Wisconsin from toughened air quality rules so Foxconn could emit extra thousands of tons of air pollution annually: 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sided with Wisconsin officials by sharply limiting areas that will come under stricter federal ozone regulations to small strips of land along Lake Michigan.
7. Trump's cabinet secretaries have deleted climate change from official websites and plans, as did Walker's DNR, to serve special interests. 

No comments: