KBIC members attend Court of Appeals hearing on Eagle Mine

About 500 members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community made the trip to Lansing earlier this week to attend a special hearing in the Michigan Court of Appeals. They were there to watch and listen as the court heard oral arguments about the Michigan DEQ’s final decision in 2010 to issue permits for the Eagle Mine.

KBIC officials say they still have concerns about the mining regulatory process and assessment of impacts to the area environment, cultural resources and water quality.

One aspect of the case questions whether or not Eagle Rock qualifies as a place of worship under Michigan’s sulfide mining statute. Eagle Rock is an Anishinaabeg sacred place located on the mine property.

The KBIC says it expects to hear about a decision from the Court of Appeals within six months. The Eagle Mine is expected to begin production later this year, and it can start production before the decision comes back.

A KBIC in-house tribal attorney says that if the court decides in the tribe’s favor, operations at the mine will have to stop until a new permit is issued that complies with the court’s decision.