Michigan politicians refuse to disclose how much money Kennecott Minerals has paid to non-profits run by political parties as it lobbies for a controversial sulfide mine permit that’s opposed by thousands of people including environmental groups, American Indian tribes
(Marquette, Michigan) – Famous Biblical scholar and author Walter Brueggemann will explore the “connection of the Bible and the environmental crisis” plus other northern Michigan ecology issues like a controversial sulfide mine proposal near Lake Superior during free public talks in the Marquette area in early October.
Public hearings are over but written comments will be accepted until Oct. 17 on a controversial proposal to open a sulfide mine near Lake Superior as Michigan lawmakers refuse to say how much money an international mining corporation is spreading around as it lobbies for a state permit.
Opponents of the project have labeled it the “Acid Mine” because the process of removing nickel and other minerals from the earth creates sulfuric acid. The Eagle Mine is proposed by the Utah-based Kennecott Minerals Corporation, an international mining company that critics say has one of the worst environmental records in the industry.
Opponents include numerous environment groups such as Save the Wild UP, the Cedar Tree Institute, the Turtle Island Project and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
Kennecott says it has developed a process that will prevent environmental problems, but opponent says the pristine Upper Peninsula – and specifically the Yellow Dog Plains in north Marquette County – should not be the Guinea Pig for unproven technology.
One geologist’s report questions whether the mine will collapse into the Salmon-Trout River as the operation bores 1,000 feet directly underneath the prime trout stream that is a Lake Superior tributary.
Proponents of the mine say it will create badly needed jobs and help Michigan’s faltering economy that has been hit hard by troubles in the automobile industry. Kennecott says at most the mine will create 100 jobs for about seven years.
Critics say the mine will barely make a ripple in Michigan’s economy and hardly compares to the thousands of jobs created by nearby iron ore mines that have lasted a century on the Marquette Iron Range.
Now questions are being raised about money paid by Kennecott to political non-profits run by Michigan’s Democrat and Republic parties.
“Kennecott has staged a well-crafted, pervasive, and entirely legal campaign to sell its project to the communities near the mine, and lobbied members of Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm’s administration and lawmakers whose districts are in the Upper Peninsula,” according to an investigation by the Great Lakes Bulletin News Service in an article written by Glenn Puit.
Michigan Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm has said little publically about the proposed mine.
The investigation revealed “another activity that, while legal, is shrouded in secrecy,” according to Puit’s article that appears on the Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI) website.
“Kennecott donated cash to non-profit organizations controlled by the state Democratic and Republican parties, but refuses to reveal the amount,” according to the detailed article.
“Unlike traditional campaign contributions, donations to these organizations—known as 501 (c) 3’s, 501 (c) 4’s, or 527’s—are unregulated in Michigan; individuals and companies can give to them, even when operated by political parties or elected officials, without disclosing them,” the article states.
The controversial mine and other environment issues will be discussed in a series of free public lectures in northern Michigan during early October by noted biblical scholar and author Walter Brueggemann who explores the “connection of the Bible and the environmental crisis.”
“My presentation will consider the way in which the Bible empowers and calls us to care about our environment,” Dr. Brueggemann said. “The connection of Bible and environmental crisis is an invitation to a new, responsible sanity – after too much economic insanity.”
“Among those issues are mining that wrecks the land, deforestation and all the temptations to exploit our God-given resources,” Brueggemann said. “My work will be to show the biblical texts that matter – those texts draw very close to immediate issues of abuse.”
Rev. Warren Geier, pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, said Brueggemann has the “unique ability to speak to general audiences” and discuss relevant issues like protecting the earth because “for people of faith there is a theological component to environmental issues.”
“The perspective Dr. Brueggemann will be able to bring – that we have not heard much about in the sulfide mining issue” is the theological angle, Geier said. “We mostly heard about it as care of the environment versus the economy but for people of faith there is a theological component to this.”
Bruggemann “will shed insight – and help a better decision be made relative to whether this mine should go through or not,” Geier said.
“Using the Bible he will challenge the assumptions and certainties of both conservatives and liberals – issues like sulfide mining are not just about economics versus care of the environment,” said Geier, who is organizing Brueggemann’s visit.
Brueggemann will hold a free public lecture at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8 at the University Center at Northern Michigan University on “Theology of Creation and the Environmental Crisis.”
Brueggemann will hold a second free public talk at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming. All Brueggemann appearances will be followed by public questions and comments.
The events are co-sponsored by the NMU EarthKeeper Student Team, Lutheran Campus Ministry and the departments of Philosophy and English at NMU, the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming.
A world renowned Old Testament scholar and author, Dr. Brueggemann connects Old Testament scholarship to contemporary issues like the environment crisis. He has authored more than 58 books, hundreds of articles and several commentaries on books of the Bible.
Brueggemann participated in Bill Moyers acclaimed PBS television series on the Book of Genesis and is currently William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary.
For more information on Bruggemann’s visit contact Pastor Warren Geier at Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming. Call 906-486-4351 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Brueggeman sites of interest:
Rev. Geier Press Release on Cath. Diocese website:
Links to his schools:
January 2008 event:
Faith & Reason great photo:
Brueggeman tribute book by Timothy Beal (scroll down):
Brueggemann unofficial fan site:
long list books:
Christian/Jewish site: “The end”
Brueggemann on hunger:
Dear Rev Warren Geier
Rev. Warren Geier
604 N. Third St.
Prof. Don Dreisbach
NMU Dept. of Philosophy
208 Cohodas Building
Phone: (906) 227-2512
Fax: (906) 227-2229
Prof. Don Dreisbach