Editorial: Eagle Mine treated with unfair privilege

North Wind Staff

United States Constitutional law establishes barriers to socially harmful behavior as well as protocol for prosecuting that behavior.

It is meant to bulwark abuses of power and create an “equal rule of law.” Therefore, when the state is presented with abuse, they are obligated to enforce the existing rules, rather than accomodate to the perpetrator.

In the case of Eagle Mine, both Rio Tinto and Lundin Mining have been responsible for at least 47 permit violations before the mining has even begun. These violations have occurred in the construction and surveying of the property.

Rather than enforce the existing laws established by their permit, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has decided to increase the levels of pollutants discharged by the mine to help the companies avoid prosecution.

If an average citizen were to dump toxic pollutants into a watershed (source of fresh water and habitat to vulnerable aquatic life) and were caught, that person would be liable for the action and likely prosecuted.

Similarly, if an average citizen were to be caught drunk driving, they would be fined heavily and potentially have their license revoked.

The state would certainly not rewrite the law to the criminal’s fancy. Those rewriting the law would be complicit with the crime and implicated in reinforcing the criminal activity.

Rule of law should be weighted evenly, without bias. The construction of this mine has produced water and air contaminants linked to cancer, which may impact the surrounding communities. If the companies implicated are not prosecuted, then at the very least their permits should not be adjusted in their favor.

The MDEQ should refuse to accommodate Lundin until the original violations are accounted for, as the state would do with anyone else.