Perspectives on sulfide mining, by Fred and June Rydholm

“The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources for the current and future generations.”
This is a very good motto to operate under. I have a hard time seeing how making a mine under an aquifer is called conservation when Michigan is the state known throughout the United States and the world as the state with pure clear water. Water is a most valuable resource. At this location, the mine will ruin this area for miles around and the area will never recover.
The ecosystem here is delicate and balanced; rare species of plants and animals thrive here and the water that flows to Lake Superior is clear. The whole aquifer is like a wonderful sponge, straining the water in underground spring systems and in many streams above carrying their purified water down to the Lake Superior many hundreds of feet below. It is a place that must be protected, a resource for current and future generations to enjoy.
As population in urban cities swells, it is important that Michigan preserves these areas where there is so much wildlife for Michigan citizens and visiting tourists to enjoy. Keep these areas free from mine development. Tourism does not thrive in an area of trucks carrying ore, with the inevitable spills and road pollution; nor does tourism thrive in areas of mining where the noise of mines and contaminated air makes one sick. Tourists avoid areas of a mine that make a huge area of blight, a blight that extends itself for miles around, but right in the center of all the wonderful plants and animals that nature has created for us.
We enjoy clean air and wonderful backwoods roads through scenic areas where seeing a deer, moose or a bear is possible. This is what the DNR is supposed to protect for Michigan citizens and visitors to our wonderful state.
Marquette County, as well as the whole Upper Peninsula, creates many more jobs related to tourism than the small number of short-term jobs the mine may create. Tourism is long-term and growing as the need for quiet wilderness is increasing.
The Natural Resource Commission can deny the permits to mine in the Upper Peninsula. The health of Michigan citizens is far more important to our state than a mine. Let us enjoy fully the valuable resources we now have—safe water to drink and water our gardens with, for the safety of the food we grow. The disturbance of the underground water flows far beyond the boundaries of the mine itself. So it is the same with the air we breathe, the higher the stack, the further will be the air flow to the surrounding countryside.
The sulfide dust blows far out of the boundaries of the mine property. Today we have safe air of which we can breathe deeply. We can enjoy the safety of our roads to travel to our favorite woods.
I cannot understand how the DNR had the right to lease so many acres of land belonging to the citizens of the State of Michigan for such a small fee, a fee much smaller than Kennecott was paying to private individuals, and without a hearing or a word to the neighbors adjoining this land. This is never done in any other community, and this right must be taken away from the DNR.
A mine affects a neighborhood very deeply. The citizens adjoining the mine property must be considered in such action as leasing rights for a mine.
“A man’s wealth is measured by how much he can afford to leave alone.” This goes for the State of Michigan also.
—Fred and June Rydholm, Marquette

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