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Late Night: Mining the Earth

Mining The Earth:

*Everywhere.  So, Peabody Energy is going to the G20 meeting with its “Advanced Energy for Life” message, an attempt to tie coal to “benevolence, altruism and empathy for the world’s poor.”  Burson-Marsteller is reportedly doing the pr work; they did the same for the tobacco industry until 2010.  Peabody is already holding meetings and workshops in Australia, touting the new message.

*North America. Grandmothers for the environment:  Charmaine White Face (Oglala), coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, addressing  “dangerous abandoned uranium mines” and the grass-roots effort to clean them up;  Sharon Day (Ojibwe) holds annual water walks, this year “near the headwaters of the St. Louis River in northern Minnesota”, where sulfide poisoning from an iron mine has created a 140-mile long dead zone:  Josephine Mandamin (Anishinabe) of Thunder Bay, Ontario, who “has walked more than 10,000 miles . . . circumnavigating each of the Great Lakes.”

*CA.  Robertson’s Ready Mix owns the only mine at Banning where there’s a measure on the November 4th ballot to “approve a general tax on rock, sand and gravel mining” in Banning. Robertson’s Ready Mix is accusing the city of financially promoting the measure, which is against the law, and has sued.

*IA. The Iowa Policy Project is providing a series of presentations “on the potential impacts of frac-sand mining on communities”, working with the Winneshiek County Protectors and the Allamakee County Protectors.  Winneshiek County now has a moratorium on frac sand mining through Oct 15, 2015, and Allamakee County has imposed restrictions.

*MN.  Frac sand mining is a hot election issue in Houston County, MN this year, with the two candidates for County Commissioner in District 4 arguing over which one will issue tougher regulations governing frac sand mining, if elected.   They point to the negative impacts of frac sand mining on MN communities.

*MN.  Ray “Skip” Sandman (Ojibwe), Green candidate for MN’s 8th Congressional District (here and here), is opposed to copper sulfide mining, including Polymet Sulfide’s plans for an open-pit copper, nickel and other metals mine.  He also opposes the Enbridge pipeline extension.

*OH.  Good grief:  “About 40 percent of Ohio’s natural treasures—its state parks, forests and wildlife and nature preserves—could be undermined in the quest to remove valuable coal, oil, natural gas and other minerals . . . from 18 state forests, 24 state parks and 53 natural areas”.  A recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling also opens the door for strip mining coal, too.

*WI.  Native wild rice might have been lost if the Crandon mine (copper, zinc and other sulfides) had not been stopped by a coalition of environmentalists, Sokaogon Ojibwe and other indigenous peoples on downstream (Menominee and Mohican), leading ultimately to the 2003 purchase  of the mine and its assets for $16.5 million using Mole Lake Ojibwe-Forest County Potowatomi casino revenue.

*WI.  The Independence City Council has postponed a permit for the Superior Silica Sands  to mine frac-sand at the Guza Pit mine since they’ve discovered “that contaminated waste water from the sand washing process was going into retention ponds that lacked the proper lining.”   Independence also tried   to annex “a long-narrow strip of land to extend its boundary to a large mining site miles away . . . in connection with” Superior Silica Sands’ project.  Such annexation attempts have gotten some townships riled up, perhaps enough for court action.

*WI.  Frac sand mining’s impacts on the communities of Tunnel City in Monroe County, Blair in Trempealeau County, Pepin and Stockholm in Pepin County, and Howard in Chippewa County: for some, a bust as hills morph into piles of sand and property values decrease, while others enjoy some benefits. [cont’d.]

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