Reaction to the decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals last week to affirm the permit process for the Eagle Mine County has been bitter from those who oppose the Marquette County project. Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve Executive Director Mindy Otto said the judges should have been required to visit the site, and called the decision a disgrace to tribal nations and the environmental justice system. In a statement posted on the Yellow Dog website, she also alleged that developers are involved in a pattern of illegal and detrimental activities. She cited only one such incident, in which construction by the Marquette County Road Commission working on the access road to the mine breached a spring, which caused some muddy water to spill into a nearby wetland. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a Violation Notice to the Marquette Road Commission on August 4th, and remedial work was performed.
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Ogimaa Donald Shalifoe, Junior, said the decision proves that tribes are not welcome in state courts, and called the situation a “regulatory fiasco.” You’ll find Shalifoe’s full statement on our KeweenawReport web page, along with a link to the statement from the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.
From the office of the KBIC Tribal President [as received]: “The court results demonstrate two things first and foremost that Tribes do not belong in State courts. Secondly, we learned the hard way that the litigation associated with this regulatory fiasco in Michigan involving the Eagle mine and other mines will be endless until the mining activity in the State of Michigan is properly regulated.”