DEQ hearings take place on campus

curt.kemp and curt.kemp

In the University Center’s Great Lakes Rooms on Monday, more than 100 individuals voiced their opinions concerning the proposed Kennecott Eagle Mine in front of members of the Michigan Department of Environmental Equality. Public discussion was largely against the mine.

The proposed Kennecott Minerals Company mine, scheduled to break ground north of Marquette on the Yellow Dog Plains, is nearing the final permit stage. The public comment Monday was the first of a series of final testimonies. Public comment will be completed Oct. 17. A final decision on approval of mine permits is expected by Nov. 14.

According to Save the Wild UP, 14 individuals spoke in favor of the project during the hearing on Monday and 112 expressed opposition.

Though the hearing was only scheduled to run until 9:30 p.m., MDEQ staff took testimony until 11:30 p.m. The entire hearing, broken into three sessions, took roughly nine hours,

One speaker, who was opposed to the mine, played a tape of the endangered Kirtland warbler while holding up a poster-sized photo of the bird. Another member opposed to Kennecott’s mine engaged the group in a chant of, “Justice for all.”

Jeff Dusseault of Marquette, was one of the few audience members who supported the mine proposal.

“I believe that natural resources belong to all of us,” Dusseault said.

Dusseault said he worked for a company that recycled fly ash, the waste product of nickel and copper mining, and that Kennecott’s arrival to the Marquette area would provide jobs for the community.

The final day for public comment in the Upper Peninsula is Thursday, from 1 to 4:30 pm at the West Branch Community Center at K.I. Sawyer.