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Opponents of nickel sulfide mine near Marquette, Mich. ask for official investigation

Opponents of the Kennecott nickel sulfide mine under development west of Marquette are asking Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate the process by which state regulators permitted the mine.

Conservationist Laura Gauger and mining engineer Jack Parker say that the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality violated state mining law by issuing a permit for the project despite concerns from its own mining experts who warned that the application was incomplete and inadequate and could endanger people and the environment.

“They … [issued] all permits demanded by Kennecott, regardless of protests by public and by experts. Kennecott has been conducting construction activities ever since, illegally but with the consent of MDEQ,” Parker said. “Federal Agencies claim that they have no jurisdiction over permitting activities because they are covered by state law, mainly Part 632. So they stand by, mute.”

Gauger and Parker say they detailed their concerns in June 15 letter to Schuette and asked that he revoke permits for the mine and launch an investigation of DEQ’s permitting activities.

The pair point out that the attorney general has pledged to make public corruption a top priority during his term. They also note that Schuette is former senior counsel to Warner, Norcross and Judd which is providing legal counsel to Kennecott Minerals.

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