MDEQ Decision Upheld by Judge
YDWP was informed on November 23 that efforts by the four co-petitioners to challenge of the issuance of permits to mine on the Yellow Dog Plains were less than fruitful. Judge Paula Manderfield issued her decision to upheld the 2007 decision by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to grant permits to Kennecott Eagle Minerals to develop a copper/nickel mining operation in Marquette County.
Arguments were made in June 2011 by petitioners and respondents of the appeals case. The decision to uphold the issuance of the permits came with a lengthy document regarding the judge’s opinion. It is attached below.
Upon reviewing the opinion, YDWP staff found the verbage to be less than unbiased. Many arguments that the petitioners made were simply considered null and void because there was a counter argument by the respondents. Additionally, for almost each argument the petitioners made, the opinion statement contained the counterargument, as well as information from cross-examination of only the petitioner’s witnesses.
For those of us who live here and will be left to deal with the actual outcomes, the court’s opinions of the Kirtland’s Warbler as a “handful of birds not nesting in the area” are demeaning. The court also agreed with Kennecott’s biologist that the Yellow Dog Plains contain no critical habitat for the Kirtland’s Warbler. Yet many of the surrounding jack pine forests on the plains are specifically managed for the warbler’s habitat.
YDWP encourages supporters to read the opinion for themselves and to assess whether a fair and impartial trial took place.