Tags Archives: Water

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‘Frac sand’ sediment spills into St. Croix River

from: http://www.kttc.com/

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A spill at a sand mining facility in Wisconsin has dumped an unknown amount of sand and other sediment into the St. Croix (kroy) River and wetlands near the Minnesota border.

Wisconsin DNR officials tell Minnesota Public Radio News it’s too soon to know how much damage was done.

Conservation officials learned of the leak on April 22, when a hiker reported seeing cream-colored water in a creek flowing to the St. Croix River. DNR investigators traced the murky water back to a sand mining facility operated by Maple Grove-based Tiller Corp., where they located a leak in a holding pond.

The sand is mined for use by the petroleum industry to help extract underground natural gas and oil supplies in a controversial practice called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The Story of a River

By: Ben Cutbank

The words that make up this piece were given to me by the Milwaukee River.

The Milwaukee River runs through the place where I live. Really, it is the place where I live, or at least part of it. This place would not be what it is without the river.

On a warm, sunny day the river will call to me in a bodily way to come into the water, or at least to feel it with my hands or feet. I’m sure this relationship between river and human, river and bird, river and insect, is older and more sacred than I can imagine.

When the river calls to me in this way, I want so badly to get in. I want to spend all of the warm and sunny days heeding this call, and the other days watching from the river’s side, listening and learning.

What breaks my heart is that I will not enter this river and let its waters caress my body, at least not today or any time soon, because its waters are full of poison.

Less than ten years ago, my friends and I would swim in the river on every warm and sunny day. Then, a number of them started experiencing rashes on their skin or felt sick from accidentally letting some of the river water into their mouth. We stopped swimming in the river. The poison dumped or seeped into the river continues to build, and the river continues to be killed, while we essentially stand aside and mourn.

I’m tired of mourning and I’m tired of hearing that this destruction is natural, inevitable, “just the way things are.”

What made clear in my own life that this river was changing for the worse, that it was being killed, was when I no longer wanted to let its waters touch my body. While obviously bad in itself, there’s a larger picture here that must be looked at.

There are living beings—including the river itself—whose lives depend on this river. When the river dies, so to do the fish, bugs, birds, and other animals who drink and eat from the river, who call the river home. Thus, each year that there are more and more pollutants from agricultural run-off in the river, there are less and less songbirds and frogs.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans on this continent, there were human beings who lived here that loved the Milwaukee River. They were indigenous peoples called the Menominee, Potawatomi, and Fox, among other tribes. The lives of these human beings were firmly intertwined with the life of the river. These human beings ate and drank from the river, prayed to the river, and listened to the river’s wisdom.

Those sustainable human cultures were victims—and continue to be victims—of large-scale murder—genocide—at the hands of white settlers. The same people who committed these atrocities against the indigenous humans are now killing the river. Both the river and the human beings who love it—and know how to live sustainability with it—are targets of the dominant culture, industrial civilization. In order to control, exploit, and pollute the river, the humans who depend on it for sustenance must also be displaced or eradicated. We can see how this happened here at home in the case of the Milwaukee River, but we must see further that this has happened everywhere and is the story of civilization.

Currently, every stream in the United States is contaminated with carcinogens. 99% of native prairies have been destroyed. 99% of old growth forests are gone. 90% of the large fish in the oceans are gone. It’s estimated that unless there is a dramatic shift in course, global warming will become irreversible in around 5 years, eventually rendering all life on this planet doomed.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The destruction can be stopped and we must stop it. Clearly, the river, the land, indigenous humans, and so much more life, are the victims of an abusive system. Like all perpetrators, the way to stop them is to aim at the root of the problem and remove or block their ability to abuse. Basically, the goal is to return the circumstances to the way they were before the abuse started, with the victims free and safe. The abuse of civilization has been a campaign of 10,000 years, so obviously there is much to be done to stop it. But, what choice do we have other than to start now and try?

Who or what do you love? Surely you love something or you wouldn’t be here. What would you do to defend your beloved?

I love the Milwaukee River. I want to see this river come back to life, year after year regaining health. I want to see no more poison seeping into the river, no more dams suffocating it, no more destruction of any kind. I want to see all of that destruction reversed and those who would commit abuse stopped and held accountable for their crimes against life.

I love the Milwaukee River and I love life. I will do whatever is necessary to defend the living, before the planet is killed entirely. Will you join me?

Coalition Intends to Sue EPA for Failure to Enforce Clean Water Act at Power Plant

 

from Milwaukee Riverkeeper

Yesterday, the Cleaner Valley Coalition, of which Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a member, called on the EPA to take stronger steps to clean up pollution at the We Energies Menomonee Valley coal-fired power plant.

Two members of the Coalition – the Sierra Club and its attorneys, Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA), filed a Notice of Intent to Sue the EPA for failing to comply with its duty to ensure that a new water pollution permit is issued for the plant.

The Valley power plant has been operating with an expired water permit since 1987; the expired permit fails to include standards necessary to protect fish and aquatic life and recreation in the Menomonee River. As detailed in a report from the Sierra Club, it is estimated that billions of fish and other aquatic organisms are killed each year by water-intake systems on outdated power plants, including coal-fired power plants like the one in the Valley. Water-intake systems suck in water to cool the power plant, then spew hot water back out into local waterways.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has been working to revise the permit for years (the Valley’s permit is the longest expired water permit in the country). Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the Cleaner Valley Coalition believe the delay has been way too long.

If the WDNR does not issue a permit in the next few months to address the threat to our waters, then EPA should take immediate action. The EPA has 60 days to respond to the NOI. If it does not respond, or fails to take necessary action during this period, Sierra Club and MEA can proceed to file a lawsuit in United States District Court.

To read the full press release and article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel click here.

Ready, Set, Destroy – Walker Looks to Violate Treaties

from http://www.politiscoop.com/

Scott Walker Breaking Tribal Treaties

Madison – In a release today, the blog Cognidissidence posted what it dubbed as a secret email to Gov. Scott Walker from Walker staffer Andrew Davis. The email depicts talking points Walker will use to justify the breaking of treaties with tribes in Northern Wisconsin by opening their lands up to iron ore mining.

To give you a brief history, The Ojibwe of Wisconsin signed three major land cession treaties with the United States in 1837, 1842, and 1854, ceding their entire homeland to the U.S. and establishing reservations for four Ojibwe bands in the state. The 1837 land cession treaty between the United States and the Ojibwe was concluded at a conference held near present-day Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota.

There, the Ojibwe traded the majority of their Wisconsin lands for a twenty-year annuity of $9500 in cash, $19,000 in goods (blankets, rifles, and cooking utensils), $2000 worth of provisions, $3000 to establish and maintain three blacksmiths’ shops, and $500 worth of tobacco. Congress appropriated another $75,000 to pay debts the tribe owed to fur traders. A final treaty provision reserved the Ojibwe’s right to hunt, fish, and gather wild rice on ceded lands.

More, President Obama Promised Tribal Leaders Help with environmental issues in November 2009 when he signed a memorandum directing every Cabinet agency to give him a detailed plan within 90 days of how they will implement an executive order signed by President Bill Clinton nine years ago that established “regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration” between tribal nations and the federal government.

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Bad River Chippewa Against Proposed Mining Legislation In Wisconsin

from http://www.intercontinentalcry.org/


BY  JAN 8, 2012

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are working, along with several NGOs, to stop a controversial mining bill that would gut existing environmental protections and effectively silence the public in order to streamline mining projects in the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 426 looks like it could’ve come straight from former Peruvian President Alan Garcia’s waste basket, for all the good it would do. The 183-page billwants to:

  • Allow for the destruction of high quality wetlands
  • Allow mining waste to be deposited in floodplains and on the shores of lakes and rivers
  • Remove the right of citizens’ to sue for illegal environmental damage by a mine
  • Prohibit the DNR from monitoring mine waste sites or facilities, stopping work at a mine if there are permit violations or pollution, or making mine companies pay fines for those violations.
  • Force the DNR to make a decision on a mining permit within 360 days, otherwise it is automatically approved.
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Protecting Wisconsin Waters

from http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/

Anti-Mining Struggles in the Penokee Hills and Lake Superior Region

By Sarah Tops

Open water stretches for miles to the north, and a soft, cool breeze whips your hair into your eyes.  The hardwood forest opens behind you to a pale sand beach into which you sink your toes.  Gulls laugh and a single piping plover searches for mollusks amongst the gentle lapping waves.  The rough outline of a commercial tug can be made out through the sea haze.  No, you’re not on the east or west coast.  This is the northern coast, often overlooked by most Americans, but not Midwesterners.  The inland seas, our Great Lakes, have been an inspiration and way of life for generations up here.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, covering an area the size of South Carolina.  Its sloughs and shorelines contain rich wild rice beds and its waters over 80 species of fish.  The Lake Superior region, spanning Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as Ontario to the north, has been home to the Ojibwe people for over two hundred years, and before then, the Dakota and Huron.  However, like most of America’s beautiful, natural places, it, too, is under threat of destruction and poisoning by industrial civilization.

Since the late 1800s, the Lake Superior region has suffered from large-scale iron mining operations, supplying over three-fourths of the nation’s iron ore.  The land was stripped of this resource half a century ago, but with current rising prices of iron and other minerals surrounding Lake Superior, mining companies are going back to dig out the dregs, a low-grade iron ore called taconite.  Communities in the upper Midwest have been affected by air and water pollution as well as poverty associated with the boom-bust cycle of resource extraction.  In the past several decades, however, Wisconsin has become a stronghold against large mining operations due to a mining moratorium law passed in 1998 after a prolonged struggle against sulfide mining that began in the 1970s.  Now, Wisconsin’s strong environmental laws are being rewritten by a new administration working hand-in-hand with mining companies.

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