Bad River Band Denies Renewal of Enbridge Line 5 Grant of Easement

January 5, 2017

Tribe calls for decommissioning and removal at Bad River, WI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

P.O. Box 39 Odanah, Wisconsin 54861

CONTACT: Dylan Jennings
Bad River Tribal Council DylanJennings@badriver-nsn.gov (715) 348-6594

Odanah, WI, January 5, 2017- The Bad River Tribal Council passed a formal resolution Wednesday evening, January 4th that established the Tribes decision not to renew its interests in the grant of easement for rights-of-way of Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 crude oil pipeline through the Bad River Reservation. Furthermore, it calls for the decommissioning, and removal of the pipeline from all Bad River lands and watershed.

Bad River Watershed, including the Kakagon Sloughs

Bad River Watershed, including the Kakagon Sloughs

Formerly known as Lakehead Pipeline Company, Enbridge sought renewal of rights of way with the Band for the existing line that is now 64 years old. 15 Individual grant of easement rights of way for Line 5 expired in 2013, however, Bad River had reacquired interests in 11 of the 15 parcels of land within the grant of easement rights of way. “As many other communities have experienced, even a minor spill could prove to be disastrous for our people. We depend upon everything that the creator put here before us to live mino-bimaadiziwin, a good and healthy life.” said Bad River Tribal Chairman Robert Blanchard. He remarks in the Tribal Council’s decision, “We will work with our native and non-native communities to make sure that Line 5 does not threaten rights of people living in our region, and we will reach out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how to remove Line 5, and we will work with the same communities and officials to continue developing a sustainable economy that doesn’t marginalize indigenous people”

The Band has directed Tribal staff to begin planning for the Line 5 removal project development and the environmental issues/hazards that exist with removal of old pipelines including hazards response and health study, pipeline contents recycling and disposal, and surface restoration. “These environmental threats not only threaten our health, but they threaten our very way of life as Anishinaabe. We all need to be thinking of our future generations and what we leave behind for them.” Says Tribal Council Member Dylan Jennings.

With over 7,000 members, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians is located on an over 124,000-acre reservation in an area within Ashland and Iron Counties on the south shore of Lake Superior (known by the tribe as Gichi Gami). The Ojibwe people have a long and rich heritage throughout the Great Lakes region and at Odanah on Lake Superior prior to European traders, missionaries and settlers and continuing to today. Treaties signed by eleven Ojibwe Tribes ceded territory in the region, including what is currently the upper one third of the State of Wisconsin. Learn more about the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians on their website, badriver-nsn.gov.

United in Defense of the Water Endorses Joe M. Rose for Ashland County Board, District 12

Mr. Rose is the incumbent and is currently serving on four committees of the Ashland County Board: Joint Impact Committee on Mining, Land and Water Conservation Committee, Zoning, and Long Range Planning Committee.

District 12 in Ashland County is unique, as it serves both Madeline Island and the Town of Sanborn, Ward 1, on the Bad River Reservation. Whoever represents this district is the voice of both island residents and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa living in Sanborn.

In our estimation, Mr. Rose is the best qualified to represent these areas for several reasons:

Jan. 26, 2012 Joe Rose at the WI State Capitol to testify against the mining bill. Photo: Rebecca Kemble

Jan. 26, 2012 Joe Rose at the WI State Capitol to testify against the mining bill. Photo: Rebecca Kemble

Mr. Rose grew up on the Bad River Reservation and has served on the Ashland County Board in the past. His experience with both tribal and non-tribal governments, and his love of the water and resources instilled in him growing up on Lake Superior as a tribal member have given him the unique ability to represent native and non-native alike.

Mr. Rose has ties to Madeline Island that go back 500 years. 

Mr. Rose has consistently fought to protect the resources. Unlike his opponent, Mike Stark, a Scott Walker supporter and Republican who backed Gogebic Taconite and their attempts to take over the Penokee Hills with a 22-mile open-pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine, Mr. Rose has stood up his entire life to fight against such atrocities. In the first video below, Mr. Rose outlines his consistent stand for 35 years against a multitude of threats to the safety and health of the area.

Mr. Stark has since admitted his mistake in aggressively pushing through the “Responsible Mining” resolution while serving on the County Board in 2011 without consulting his constituents. UDW feels, however, that any future misjudgments of this nature could be devastating to the health and well-being of District 12.

Reicks Concentrated Animal Feed Operation. This is a huge disaster looming in Ashland County. A 26,000 hog CAFO is on the verge of being permitted in Eileen that would destroy the water of our region. Mr. Rose not only understands this imminent danger and explains it clearly in the video below, but is already working hard on several fronts to prevent the destruction of Lake Superior that would inevitably happen if this CAFO is allowed to move forward. He is a strong supporter of local control and understands the power of the Treaties.

joeedith022014

February 2014, standing united in defense of the water, with Edith Leoso at a press conference in the Penokees. Photo: Rebecca Kemble

Mr. Rose is Chairman of the Anishinaabeg Environmental Protection Association. This sub-committee was formed by the Bad River Tribal Council, which works to protect the land and water for all. With Mr. Rose we have two governments standing up for us.

Mr. Rose has working relationships with all of the county’s State legislators, including Sen. Janet Bewley, Assemblywoman Beth Meyers, former Senator Bob Jauch, and State tribal leaders. He also is able to bring the Ashland County Board together and has used these relationships to broker support for important issues. Board Chair Pete Russo has said his presence on the Board is “invaluable” and has strong support from the Native American community.

Mr. Rose was Professor of Native American Studies for many years at Northland College. He has an excellent track record as an effective educator.

For these reasons and many more, United in Defense of the Water feels he is the best candidate to represent District 12.

Be sure you are registered to vote:
https://myvote.wi.gov/Voter/VoterSearchScreen.aspx

Information on the proper ID:
http://bringit.wi.gov/

For more information, contact:

The League of Women Voters for Ashland and Bayfield Counties

Town of Sanborn

Town of La Pointe

Joe M. Rose speaking at the candidates forum, March 27, 2016 at La Pointe Town Hall.

 

GTac sends message to investors: Penokee Hills unmineable.

March 28, 2015

GTacOn March 27, 2015, Gogebic Taconite (GTac) sent a letter to the Wisconsin DNR withdrawing their pre-application for a mining permit. Earlier, they had announced that the Penokee Hills of northern Wisconsin were “unmineable” due to wetlands, and said they would be closing their Hurley, WI offices and abandoning the idea of investing in an open-pit mountaintop removal mine here.

This victory for northern Wisconsin and concerned citizens everywhere was due to a combination of circumstances that ultimately proved once and for all that the boom and bust of the mining industry is too great a risk to the economy, environment and democracy of the region. Some of the factors for GTac’s failure to mine include:

The manner in which GTac conducted business

GTAC armed security forces in northern Wisconsin. Photo: Rob Ganson

GTAC armed security forces in northern Wisconsin. Photo: Rob Ganson

Besides the $700,000 pay off to Scott Walker, the use of an unlicensed private paramilitary company to guard the mine site, the smear campaigns against scientists conducted by extreme pro-mining propaganda organizations, the death threats against concerned citizens, and being allowed to author the new mining legislation created great risk for the region.

Many never believed GTac was a real mining company. Organized as an LLC in only 2010 and having no previous iron ore experience, GTac did not behave like a mining company. Authentic taconite mining companies don’t:

· Hire an official wanted for crimes against the environment in Spain;
· Claim to know the deposit with only a few hundred core holes, when thousands are necessary;
· Hire a public relations person who only makes people angry and appears totally ignorant of mining issues and technology;
· Bulk sample using loose rock in an old hole with no knowledge of its origin;
· Put forth a mine plan which shows a pit diagram which misses much of the deposit;
· Tell blatant lies in public legislative sessions—lies which contradict their own previous statements;
· Deny the existence of minerals in the deposit that have been documented to be there for over 100 years;
· Have only a handful of employees on a project which would require hundreds;
· Use an economic study based on laws and conditions in a different state and that shows only half the picture;
· Put forth a mine plan which does not show any water storage pond/facility, when tens of millions of gallons are needed every day;
· Say they plan to dry stack their tailings, when this method has never been used in a wet climate, and propose a pile hundreds of feet high when 35 feet is pretty much a limit;
· Say they will dry stack, which is the most expensive method of tailings disposal, and at the same time say that they will be cost efficient.
· Not publish their test results (Aguila, Copperwood, Highland Copper, Eagle Mines—all published their core test results either online or in the local papers);
· Not know the extent of wetlands before performing expensive core drilling and bulk sampling;
· Contradict their own consultants while in meetings with the ACOE, DNR and EPA, resulting in those regulators telling them to come back when they get serious;
· Drill only a handful of water monitoring holes, when hundreds would be required, and never bother to install instrumentation in those that they did drill;
· Propose to convey and handle wet materials (tailings) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in a climate in which the temperature goes below -35F;
· Say they are pulling out of Ashland County, leaving almost 1/3 of the ore in the ground, because the local county board chair is “mean”;
· Get caught bribing the governor to the tune of $700,000;
· Suggest that they are going to file a permit soon, when years of investigation are still required;
· Promise 700 jobs but not be able to produce a single job description …*

This list could go on and on, but this is more than enough to know now that they were never serious about mining iron ore.

SOS

Residents of the Lake Superior basin gather in Winter 2014 to spell out “SOS Protect Our Water” with their bodies on the ice. Photo: David Doering

The power of the people
Lake Superior has always been special to those who live near her. The Lake Superior Chippewa Bands have for generations cared for the resources, particularly water and air. Natives and non-native alike living in the basin joined together to stand united in defense of the water. The new mining law, ignoring the voice of the people and putting all resources at risk, could not usurp the power of so many individuals working together on so many levels to protect the water.

All across the state, people became educated about the Penokee Hills and GTac. Frank Koehn from Save the Waters Edge and the Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) traveled the state with others giving presentations to local communities. Bad River potlucks became meeting grounds for action planning. The Harvest Education Learning Project (HELP) opened in the hills near the mine site and hosted thousands of visitors from all over the world.

Downstate, Madison Action for Mining Alternatives (MAMA) was formed to unite the north and the south in efforts to protect the water, not just from iron ore but sand frac mining overtaking central and southern Wisconsin. Educational events were held in Milwaukee, Madison, Wausau, Eau Claire and all across the state to raise awareness and unite concerned citizens.

As we reached out to our friends and neighbors about the vital issues of Lake Superior and Bad River water, we also increased awareness about the growing global water shortage.

Falling world iron ore prices and divestment of fossil fuel
International iron ore prices continue to fall. When the Wisconsin legislature first introduced GTac’s mining bill, prices were considerably higher. In 2014, they dropped by 49%.

According to scientists familiar with the iron ore in the Penokees, it is a low-quality formation and would have taken much more effort and expense to extract the ore from the ore body. Add to that the cost of mitigating the abundant wetlands, and it does not make a profitable investment.

The Work Continues
We must continue to stand strong together united in defense of the water. Mining won’t go away, and there are new threats to the water by way of tar sands pipelines, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), sand frac mining. According to NASA, California has about one year of fresh water left. This global crisis will reach everyone at some point. So be inspired to do something to help your local community to protect the water. Attend county board meetings, educate your neighbors, become involved with a local citizen group and continue to stay apprised of what is needed to stand united in defense of the water.

* written by Richard Theide, Iron County.

ACTION ALERT: Sean Duffy Attacking Wisconsin’s Water

October 27, 2014

Rep. Sean Duffy and his Tea Party extremists are trying to take away our protection.

Rep. Sean Duffy and his Tea Party extremists are trying to take away our protection.

Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-R-7) is in a hotly contested race with Kelly Westlund of Ashland for the Congressional seat representing District 7, which includes the Penokee Hill and Bad River watershed. Duffy recently co-sponsored two bills that passed in the House that take aim at the Treaty Rights of the Lake Superior Chippewa, as well as all of the waters of Wisconsin.

The bills—HR 5078 and HR 4854—are co-sponsored by Tea Party Republicans and Southern Democrats in mining states and are based on a corporate manifesto written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization funded in part by David and Charles Koch. They are designed to severely limit the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the Clean Power Plan.

The bills passed the House in September and are part of ALEC’s “model legislation” based on the Tea Party ideology found in “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Assault on State Sovereignty.” Portraying the power of the EPA as dangerous federal overreach, the manifesto aims to protect mining interests across the country from being held accountable for their impact on the environment.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

We need people power before the election to help educate the state on the truth. We need people writing Letters to the Editor to your local papers, sharing this information with your family and friends, and forwarding the link to people who might be undecided about who to vote for.

The truth is if Walker, Duffy and Ryan get re-elected, they will continue to bring the Koch Brothers and the influence of all their corporate money has here in Wisconsin. If Walker, Duffy, Jamey Francis, Dane Deustch and their Tea Party friends prevail, they will dismantle any protections we have from mining.

Remember how we were told over and over, “If the mine would pollute, the EPA won’t allow it.” This is the same lie they told us in January 2011 about not wanting to change the Wisconsin State mining laws. GTac knew when they told us that that the new bill was already in progress.

Find your local newspaper here. Write a letter. Support Kelly Westlund. And then get out the vote and let’s elect people not paid for by the Koch Brothers: Kelly for Congress, Beth Meyers for Assembly, Susan Happ for Attorney General and Mary Burke for governor on November 4, 2014. If you live outside of District 7, find out who in your district supports We the People and clean water.

Help others learn the truth and get out the vote on November 4th.

Your very life may depend on it.

tylerforks

One of many undocumented streams and waterfalls of the Bad River watershed. Photo: Maureen Matusewic

GTac Bulk Sample Trucks Routed Through Bad River Reservation

GTac truck hauling bulk sample rock out of Moore Park Road. Photo: Pete Rasmussen

GTac truck hauling bulk sample rock out of Moore Park Road. Photo: Pete Rasmussen

Due to bridge restrictions in the town of Mellen, Gogebic Taconite (GTac) is routing their trucks carrying bulk sample rock through the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation.

The route of the trucks hauling the samples is from Moore Park Road, east into Hurley on Highway 77, north on 51 and then to Highway 2, back west across the Bad River Reservation, and through Ashland on their way to Minnesota. The loads can’t travel through the shorter, more cost-effective route through Mellen because of a bridge restriction in the center of town.

Controversy continues to follow GTac, as asbestiform minerals have been found and confirmed at several bulk sample sites by Dr. Tom Fitz, geologist from Northland College. Asbestiform particles are responsible for mesothelioma, an incurable lung disease common around iron ore mines. GTac loads stand to spread the airborne particles along the route.

Due to bridge restrictions in Mellen, GTac is being forced to use a longer route through the Bad River Reservation.

Due to bridge restrictions in Mellen, GTac is being forced to use a longer route through the Bad River Reservation.

In an interview last October with WPR, Bad River Chair Mike Wiggins Jr. accused GTac of covering up the presence of the dangerous mineral. “A cover-up of asbestos [that] geologists and children could walk in there and see with the naked eye,” he said. “[It] is such a compelling, premeditation for disaster, a disaster that would befall the Bad River Reservation and non-tribal people of the Bad River Watershed. It’s a deal breaker. Explode an asbestos rock that Tom Fitz has found with the highest level of asbestos he’s ever seen in some of those rocks and tell me how that’s creating the circle of life. I’ll say this: It’s recreating the circle of life by causing death.”

Wiggins noted that Bad River wardens briefly detained one of the nine trucks that passed through the reservation yesterday.

Meanwhile, about 100 concerned citizens gathered Sunday at the entrance to one of the bulk sample sites to demonstrate support of clean air, clean water and the new mining laws. At least 20 people crossed over into the “forbidden zone” that the latest in GTac-bought legislation created around the bulk sample sites to prevent the public from observing their activities.