Canadian mining corporation Aquila Resources Inc. has been working with its partner HudBay Minerals to develop a sulfide mine called the Back Forty Project in Menominee County, MI along the Menominee River, which borders Wisconsin. The project is described by the company as at an advanced stage of exploration and is close to becoming a formal application to mine. (Map from Save the Wild UP)
As Wisconsin families plan for Thanksgiving dinners, they don't know the boom in silica sand mining here for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") elsewhere threatens our cranberry bogs, writes dairy farmer and vice-president of Family Farm Defenders Joel Greeno in the Capital Times.
"In addition to the loss of productive farmland, fracking uses huge amounts of water. Cranberry bogs are meticulously designed to take advantage of the water stored in the marshes, which is necessary for harvesting, and growers generally set aside seven acres of land for every acre planted to store this water. Marshes surrounded by sand pits will eventually lose water as it seeps into the pits, leaving berry growers high and dry."
Last Saturday, tens of thousands of Germans took part in the country's largest anti-nuclear protest since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. (More pictures and video of the protest are available online.)
"We've made it very clear today that a broad majority of the population is against this nuclear cult," protest organizer Jochen Stay told Reuters.
Just one week after the Swiss government announced plans to phase out the use of nuclear power, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her own nuclear "exit strategy," with a plan to shut down all of Germany's nuclear plants by 2022. Merkel's shift was especially dramatic, given that she had been promoting nuclear plants as a safe "bridge" to renewable energy less than a year ago. The change comes less than a week after thousands of people across Germany took part in protests against nuclear power. The previous pro-nuclear stance taken by Merkel's Christian Democratic Party was also blamed for the party's poor showing in recent elections.
To: Larry Lynch, WI DNR
Dear Mr. Lynch,
This is being posted publicly as an open letter. I urge you to share these comments with colleagues and halt G-Tac’s attempt to do bulk sampling with inadequate preparation and precautions in place.
Photo: Cobre Las Cruces copper mine, owned by Canada-based First Quantum Minerals, in 2008 after its walls collapsed. The mine was under the direction of now-GTac president Bill Williams, who ignored government reports that the walls were unstable. (Credit: Ecologistas en Acción)
On November 25, Gogebic Taconite submitted a new bulk sampling plan to the Wisconsin DNR. If the DNR approves this plan, it will be the go-ahead for G-Tac to start blasting the asbestos-filled rock in the Penokee Hills. Among other gems, the plan contains the statement that "no groundwater has been identified at the bulk sample sites" (in the very moist Penokee Hills).
Gogebic Taconite's claims that they can mine the Penokee Hills safely is an insult to the intelligence of Wisconsinites. While many DNR employees are competent and professional, the company is likely to collude with the agency's politically-appointed heads to force the plan to be approved quickly, possibly before the public has a chance to respond.
A year after the reactor meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor complex, "the list of radioactively contaminated foods, waters, soils, vegetation and export goods continues to grow longer, and government-established allowable contamination rates appear wildly arbitrary," John LaForge of WNPJ member group Nukewatch reports on CounterPunch.org.
"For example, Japan intends in April to lower its permissible level of cesium in milk to 50 becquerels per kilogram from the 200 Bq/Kg that is permitted now. Evidently, an amount of contamination deemed permissible for both robust and vulnerable populations for the past year, will become four times too dangerous to consume -- on April Fool’s Day."
At the state Capitol on Monday, "alternative energy advocates claimed little has changed in nuclear power plant regulation and that Wisconsin’s drinking water could be at risk for contamination in the event of a similar situation in the state," reported the Badger Herald. Pictures of the briefing, co-organized by WNPJ, can be found here. (Presenters, from left: Dr. Arjun Makhijani, John Kinsman, Scott Thompson and Drew Lehmann)
Fox News 21, a Fox affiliate in northern Wisconsin, features an interview with Lincoln “Sam” Morris of the Red Cliff Band, who was arrested last week for drumming on a sacred drum during a protest against a proposed mine in the Penokee hills.
"Are we going to eat a polluted fish? Are our deer going to be polluted? Our trees are going to be cut down. All these other animals, all the ones down under mother earth,” Morris said. Attorney Glenn Stoddard, who represents the tribe, says, "The proposed mine in the Penokee Hills is at the head of the watershed. It would essentially send all the pollutants downstream right into the reservation.” Read more...