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Northern Wisconsin and Russia Stand United in Defense of the Water

RussiamapLake Superior to Baikal: Bayfield High School Students Trek to the World’s Other Largest Lake!
Presentation on October 22 at 6:30 PM
Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College, Ashland.
Free and open to the public.

This summer, a group of Bayfield High School students traveled to Siberia, Russia, to learn about the people and cultures of Lake Baikal. Their mission—to explore a similar yet highly different culture—was guided by the water. Because they grew up on the shores of Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area, it made sense to target Russia and Lake Baikal—the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume. They stayed with host families and had an opportunity to learn how the water influences their mutual cultures.

Their journey exceeded their expectations and they are anxious to share their experiences with the community.

peacetotemsVisit their website to read about how the children of Superior and the children of Siberia came together united in defense of the water.

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Hayward Screening of “Wisconsin Mining Standoff”

Hayward LegalWEB
** For Immediate Release ***

SCREENING AND DISCUSSION OF DOCUMENTARY ON PROPOSED PENOKEE IRON MINE

Hayward, September 11, Park Theatre, 6:30pm

A short documentary film which addresses the controversial, proposed iron mine in the Penokee Hills will be screened at the Park Theatre in Hayward, Wisconsin, Thursday, September 11th, 6:30pm.  A panel discussion with open community forum will follow the film.

WISCONSIN’S MINING STANDOFF was produced by Milwaukee-based 371 Productions for the Al Jazeera America “Fault Lines” program and premiered June of 2014. The filmmakers visited Ashland and Iron Counties to gather stories of the people there and the company behind the mine.

Gogebic Taconite (GTac) proposes to dig North America’s largest open pit mine in the Penokee Hills. Company executives are interviewed, as are area residents in opposition to the mine.

Viewers will visit a century-old family owned dairy farm, join a geologist on a rock hunt, and hike deep into the winter woods to spend time at a harvest camp established by members of the Lac Courtes Orielles (LCO) Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. Local residents and members of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa raise concerns about acid mine drainage that would likely contaminate the Bad River and the large sloughs at the edge of Lake Superior.  The Chairwoman of the Iron County Mining Impact Committee, on the other hand, maintains GTac’s mine would bring desperately needed jobs to a region with high unemployment.

If you care about democracy or the environment, or simply love good drama, you won’t want to miss this deep look into the controversy.  The dive into the issues will continue after the half-hour film.  A panel made up mainly of people featured in the film will field questions from the audience.

The panelists will be:

•  Dr. Tom Fitz, geologist, Northland College
Paul DeMain, journalist, publisher of Indian County Today, member of LCO Band
Philomena Kebec, attorney, member of Bad River Band
Barbara With, citizen journalist, activist, author

The screening is sponsored by the Penokee Hills Education Project.

miningimpactcoalition.org

Press contacts:

Will Pipkin, event organizer, 715-763-3462, 715-209-3597
Devon Cupery, 371 Productions, 414-617-5843, 371productions.com

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Bad River Watershed Association hosts “Wisconsin’s Mining Standoff”

Standing room only at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center for the screening of 371 Production's "Wisconsin Mining Standoff." Photo: Bobbi Rongstad

Standing room only at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center for the screening of 371 Production’s “Wisconsin Mining Standoff.” Photo: Bobbi Rongstad

On July 24, 2014, the Bad River Watershed Association hosted a screening of 371 Production’s Wisconsin’s Mining Standoff at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. The film is running on Al Jazeera America, and tells the story of Gogebic Taconite’s invasion of the Penokee Hills with the intention of installing a 22-mile open-pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine at the center of the Bad River Watershed. The event had standing room only.

After the film, a panel discussion was held and included people who have been instrumental in standing up to protect the water. Topics included the hydrology of the Bad River Watershed, recent EPA ruling in Bristol Bay, GTAC, recent legislation, and how we can continue to stand united in defense of the water by writing letters of support for the Chippewa Federation at their August 21, 2104 meeting with the EPA. Audience members asked informed questions and got straight answers.

Photo: Bobbi Rongstad

Photo: Bobbi Rongstad

Panel members included Sen. Bob Jauch (D-25), Chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Mike Wiggins Jr., Ashland County Board Chair Pete Russo, Ashland County Board member Charles Ortman, 371 Productions producer Devon Cupery, and Tracy Hames, executive director of Wisconsin Wetlands Association. The discussion was facilitated by Allie Raven, Bad River Tribal Member and BRWA Mining Impact Committee member.

Watch the entire informative discussion below.

 

 

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ACTION ALERT: Send Letters of Support to Stop Mining in the Penokees

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Photo: Rebecca Kemble

On August 21, 2014, the six tribes of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Federation will meet with the Environmental Protection Agency officials to urge them to stop mining activity in the Penokee Hills. Tribal leaders sent a letter last May requesting the meeting and asking the EPA to invoke a section of the Clean Water Act in order to prevent the devastation of a proposed 22-mile open pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine from destroying the Bad River watershed:

“CWA§404(c) authorizes the EPA to restrict, prohibit, deny, or withdraw the use of an area for the disposal of dredged or fill material, including mining wastes, when it is determined that discharge will have unacceptable adverse effects on fisheries, wildlife, shellfish beds, municipal water supplies, or recreational areas.”

We need your help in standing united in defense of the life-supporting waters of the Bad River Watershed. Let’s send a clear message to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of initiating the 404c Process.

Use this form to tell the EPA how mining discharge would affect you:

EPA Letter Campaign

Using a copy of the pre-addressed letter, please sign and add a brief statement based on your own experience that tells how you/your family/your business would be affected.

The entire stack of completed letters will be presented to the EPA on August 21, so please add your personal message, sign it, and either email your online version to:

CommDir@badriver-nsn.gov
(715) 682-7107 ext. 1531

Or mail hard copy to:
Mark Rolo
Bad River Legal 
Department
PO Box 39
Odanah, WI 54861.

We are asking that you include additional contact information so we can contact you for follow-up activities.

Here are a few points to help get you started:

• I am a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa…

• My family has lived/conducted spiritual practices/farmed/harvested wild rice/hunted/fished/hiked/in the Bad River Watershed area for — generations…

• I live (fish, hunt, gather, hike, bird watch, kayak, canoe…) in/my business is located in/ the area drained by the Bad River Watershed…

Mining waste discharge from GTAC’s proposed taconite mine in the Penokee Hills will disperse known harmful contaminants throughout the water-rich environment of the Bad River Watershed from the Bad River’s headwaters in the Penokee Range to its endpoints throughout the western Lake Superior Basin, thereby adversely affecting /the health and well-being of our human, plant and animal communities for years to come/ my community’s drinking water/the plants and animals I depend on for subsistence/the vitality of our fish and other aquatic species/our wild and unspoiled natural recreational areas/…

You can also find more info on the website protectpenokeehills.org.

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Top: The Penokee Hills now. Bottom: What the Penokee Hills would look like if a mine was allowed to be built.