On the Friday, July 12th A Public Affair, sub host Rebecca Kemble talked with a panel of people involved in the anti-mining activism in the Penokee Hills area. During the first half of the hour, she was joined by Paul DeMain of Indian Country News, and the second half of the hour by Allie Raven, a Bad River elder. There were also two in-studio guests: Dr. Joseph Skulan, geochemist, and Kelly Westland, Ashland City Council member and businesswoman.
The show initially focused on the media coverage surrounding the mining operations, and Dr. Skulan reported on how unfounded he believes accusations of ‘eco-terrorism’ are. For example, one of the ‘terrorists’ pictured was, in fact, one of his fellow geologists who was hunting for mushrooms in the woods and stopped to watch the mining operation. He was wearing a garbage bag because it was raining outside. These eco-terrorism accusations have been used as justification for the armed guards surrounding the mining site.
Kelly Westlund supported Skulan. She recently debated Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder about the mining operations and reported that many of the eco-terrorism allegations have, in fact, no backing. The only documented incidence of ‘terrorism’ was a group of kids yelling at miners, while the miners laughed. They posed no real threat.
Finally, both Paul DeMain and Allie Raven, as native residents, explained the religious significance of the land, as well as what a poor “job creation” solution this mine would be. Iron ore is not a lucrative material, and the company has hailed their mine as “the most efficient mine in the world”. If this efficiency were to be as good as they claim, that would mean they hired hardly any labor and relied mostly on machines. In the meantime, they would be destroying 1,600 acres of land that could be potentially used for tourism, maple syrup, mushroom farming, or other, sustainable businesses that would actually create jobs.
At a mining hearing, Allie Raven explained how detrimental mining is. The video of that can be found here. Anti-mining forces have also provided a flyer with information on the mining: back, front. All of their information can also be found at this website.
Pictures of the natural Penokee landscape can be found here.
Listen to the entire show: