Kennecott Sustainable Development Corporation Initiates 6 Additional Community and Environmental Development Projects in Marquette County, Michigan

Kennecott Sustainable Development Corporation Initiates 6 Additional Community and Environmental Development Projects in Marquette County, Michigan






Kennecott Eagle Community Development Project (KECDP) manager, Biff Berry, announced, at yesterday’s Kennecott-sponsored citizen rally and community potluck, that it is now interested in numerous philanthropic projects in the UP, in addition to its Eagle Project.  Reading a statement from Kennecott Sustainable Development Corporation (KSDC) President and CEO, Donald J. Canterbury, Berry commented that, “It is our experience that if we do it right, the people will be better off when we leave in comparison to when we arrived,” he said. “That’s what our interest is. We want people to be better off.”

 According to Berry, the programs, intended to upgrade various infrastructure in the County, including upgrades for roadways, power systems, medical and library projects, reforestation and environmental remediation, as well as job creation programs for folks down on their luck, has now evolved and expanded to include “six additional potential projects.”

To a cheering crowd of over 3,000 ordinary, hard-working, citizens at Marquette’s Ramadan Motel, Berry pumped his fist and announced that Kennecott is here to “create some jobs in Marquette County.”


The community gathering was briefly interrupted when a group of wealthy anti-development moonbats showed up to the rally carrying placards saying things like “Jobs for the UP:  NO!” and “No Blood for Community Development.” 


Don Corvette, ultra-rich founder of Citizens Against All Development, grabbed the microphone and screeched, “We are opposed to all of Kennecott’s community development programs, as well as its reforestation and environmental protection programs.  Announcing six additional projects…they’re fooling the citizens of this great state.  Our agencies are not protecting us and we vow to do it for them.”


Following citizen calls for Corvette to step down, Berry requested Corvette exit the stage.  Refusing to do so, Corvette was escorted from the Ramadan by local police, kicking and screaming, causing one officer several facial lacerations and bone damage in the process.  Corvette and his small, but vocal, band of rag-tag California-based outsiders were heard chanting, “No more jobs, no more jobs,” as the group left the rally.


Dismayed, Berry commented, “I hate to step up on my soapbox here, but there are a lot of people out there saying a lot of crazy things.  They are spreading their propaganda and letting their concerns be heard. We need people who support this project to make sure they’re heard, too.”


Following a five-minute standing ovation, Berry turned the stage over to citizens to comment on the proposed project, noting that the “citizens need to be heard.”


“When I heard the news that Kennecott is planning not only one, but six community development projects in the County, I just had to cry,” said Barbara Koskimaki, single mother of four, from the Copper Bay Indian Reservation.  “Now my young boys can look forward to good solid jobs of the future when they grow up, and they won’t have to leave the UP, or the reservation, to do it.”


Koskimaki also noted that, now that Kennecott is here, she, like many other mothers over the past 100 years, can now finally regularly feed their families hot meals and find shelter in the brutal UP winters:  “No more dumpster-diving or staying on my sister’s couch in Appleton when I can’t make mortgage payments, Kennecott has arrived!”


Other citizens commented that the “negative complaining” of project opponents must come to an end because it is disrupting the community.  One citizen commented that Berry is not simply a “tree-hugging environmentalist” or “citizen-rights activist” but a “representative of the people.”


Local contractor, Gavin Roth, said that, initially, he was wondering why Kennecott was “keeping the public in the dark regarding the full extent of its plans.  Now I realize that full disclosure would have ruined this wonderful surprise announcement.  I really feel like I’m at a surprise birthday party, a surprise party for the community.” Roth added, “Today, I am filled with so much joy.”


UP native and local hero, Ben Von Slayer, commented, “When are the rest of the residents in the UP that are still in need of a job going to come to their senses and tell these wealthy small groups whose orientation is for anti-development to move on.  If the hard working people don’t, these wealthy groups will be buying big billboards on all incoming roads advertising ‘U.P. now closed to all new development’.”  Von Slayer continued, “We’ve got to stop kicking our gift horse.”


Following citizen comment, a potluck luncheon was held.  Berry assisted in serving attendees helpings of cranberry-coriander rice pilaf, vegan meatloaf and tofu-spinach pie onto renewable bamboo plates and corn-based cups and tableware.


During the potluck, Kennecott regional manager Frank Box gave a presentation on Kennecott’s global sustainable development projects.  ”We have community development projects spanning the globe,” said Box.  “With each of these projects we have worked with community members to obtain what we, in the sustainable development industry, call a ‘social license’.  Without a social license from the community, we simply won’t operate, regardless of the proven benefits to the area’s environment and economy.  Environmental excellence is a Kennecott hallmark.”


Box then presented a power point of some successful examples in sustainable development from Kennecott’s activities around the world.


“We founded a rescue mission in Namibia to save families and uranium workers who the United Nations said were ‘working under slave-like conditions’.

Kennecott’s actions in West Papua, specifically, have drawn critical acclaim from other organizations in the sustainable development industry.  According to Box, “In Papua New Guinea we procured funding for an extensive clean-up of the local river systems that were contaminated due to activities caused by the largest open-pit copper mine in the world, a project vigorously opposed by local communities.  Before mining activity, local villages sustained themselves with fish from the rivers and maintained their own small mining enterprises.  The mining company ruined the fish supply and assisted the Indonesian military with torturing dissident villagers and quelling an uprising against the project, which led to a bloody decade-long civil war.  Recently, the mining company declared cottage mining operations illegal.  We worked hard to remedy the situation in West Papua.


“Now, we don’t want to bore you with all of our accomplishments, but we also have projects in Alaska, Utah, South America, Madagascar and a state-of-the-art water bottling facility in Greater Sudbury, Ontario.  There, we utilize mine processing waste water and convert it into 100% safe drinking water, eliminating all mine pollution.  We supply this clean drinking water to impoverished communities in sub-Saharan Africa.”


Box outlined some of the difficulties in organizing community development projects, specifically in the US where, Box claims, anti-development activists have nearly ruined Kennecott as a functioning sustainable development organization.


“Admittedly, we have full support from the local chamber of commerce, all of our state officials, important judges and the Governor,” Box said.  “However, while the anti-development activists have the money, we now have the people.”


According to Melvin Smokerton, Upper Peninsula Chapter of the Cascade Club and Berry’s fishing and lunch partner, “This is a victory for not only the Cascade Club, but for the residents of Marquette County.  Starvation and joblessness are on their last legs.  Now we can all finally get to work.  Kennecott has been looking for a social license to operate here.  I believe this citizen rally gives Kennecott every reason to begin helping the people in this community.”


Kennecott plans its sustainable development projects for primarily the Baraga Plains and Michigamme Highlands.  Other sustainable development corporations, including Cameco, Prime Meridian and Aquila have announced similar plans for community and environmental development projects throughout the western UP.  Most projects are located on public land.


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