How You Can Save Spirit Mountain
(and other local
By Craig Minowa
Article courtesy of the Northland Reader
June 15, 2001
Saving a Mountain
The plan to turn the largest
Old Growth forest of its kind in MN into a golf course
and hotel is still underway. Despite strong local opposition, developer
Kent Oliver has already begun applying for permits---the
last step needed in the process before the destruction
of Duluth’s Spirit Mountain begins. According to Nancy
Nelson of the West Skyline Planning and Preservation Alliance,
the long time leader in opposing this potential ecological
atrocity, if all goes as the developers plan, trees will
start falling in late summer.
GOOD NEWS: Grant funding has
now been approved for a coalition of local environmental
organizations to do a mid-summer plant survey of the Spirit
Mountain area, with the help of local volunteers. Gary
Walton, the botanist who was hired by the developer to
do the initial plant survey, says there’s an 80% chance
that threatened species, like goblin fern and various
moon wort, can be found on the proposed development site
in late July this year. Anytime these threatened species
are discovered, the MN DNR is required by law to either
stop the development or drastically alter the plans.
plant survey was done quickly in the early spring during
dry years, when these plants can’t be found,” said Walton.
“Spirit Mountain has all of the characteristics that would
provide an ideal habitat for these threatened plants and
with enough volunteers in the field, there’s a very good
chance we will find some.”
say volunteers? Heck yeah. Talk about a perfect opportunity
for folks in Duluth (that means you, buddy) to get outside
and literally save their own backyards. This thing will
be like an elaborate Easter egg hunt.
Walton will show you pictures of what to look for,
and you’ll get on your hands and knees and start searching.
Imagine the feeling of being the person who stumbles upon
this threatened plant, triggering a process that could
ultimately lead to saving 400 acres of Old Growth Forest,
diverse wetlands, a trout stream and sacred Native American
Vision Quest lands.
he’s going to need a whole lotta volunteers, and you don’t
have to have any experience. You can volunteer for a day
or for the whole 10-day survey (July 28-August 6). If there was ever a perfect time to get involved,
IT IS NOW! Call me at 726-1828 or Nancy Nelson at 728-1002
or sign up to volunteer online: www.greatlakesdirectory.org/spiritmountain.htm
More Mountain News
Nelson: On June 25 the City Council will be dealing
with Spirit Mountain. The developers are trying to quietly
get approval of the work permits for the golf course/hotel
without the public realizing what's going on.
So, on June 25, in addition to discussing the Gilbert/Stewart/Stover
resolutions related to Spirit Mountain, it is likely that
there will also be a new resolution.
JUNE 25 WILL BE A COUNCIL MEETING THAT
NEEDS A BIG TURNOUT.
Local Organization Coordinates Major
A global protest
against Starbucks Coffee, scheduled to take place on June
25th and 26th, will be the largest protest
of its kind. The Organic Consumers Association, based
out of Little Marais, MN, has been coordinating this campaign
for several months. Protestors will be demanding that
the company remove the controversial recombinant Bovine
Growth Hormone (rBGH) and other genetically engineered
ingredients from its brand-name beverages, baked goods,
chocolates, and ice cream; start brewing and seriously
promoting Fair Trade, shade-grown, and organic coffees
as its “coffee of the day”; and improve the wages and
working conditions of farm workers on the coffee plantations
of its suppliers in Guatemala, Mexico, and other nations.
A smaller nationwide
protest was held on March 20th of this year,
but Starbucks has offered little more than lip service
to concerned consumers about its products since then.
Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic
Consumers Association, stated, “Vague promises and half-measures
are not enough. Starbucks must either give in to the demands
of consumers and public interest groups around the world
for a non-genetically engineered product line, Fair Trade
coffee, and social justice, or else they run the risk
of further damage to their reputation and bottom line.” Meanwhile, coffee farmers around the world
are having a difficult time putting food on the table
as a result of record low coffee prices—Starbucks, on
the other hand, recently reported record profits.
Here in Duluth,
protestors will be gathering outside the Barnes and Noble/Starbucks
location on Miller Hill at 4 PM on the 26th
of June. For more info, go to:www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks/starbucks.html
Wetlands or Trailer Park?
A new proposed
project is looking to develop a trailer park on a high
quality Lake Superior wetland along the North Shore. According
to Tony DeFalco of the National Wildlife Federation, the
development would destroy rare wetlands in Cloud Bay (situated
between Grand Marais and Thunder Bay). “The proposed
project will destroy habitat and impair water
quality,” said DeFalco. For more info and/or to
send your comments to decision makers, go to http://126.96.36.199/envregistry/015851ei.htm
A Republican With a Good Idea (yeah, it’s true)
With the illusion
of an energy crisis wreaking havoc on the decision-making
faculties of the majority of US citizens and politicians,
there has been an incredible amount of talk about drilling
for oil and gas in the Great Lakes.
Although this is already done in some areas on
a limited scale, the Bush Administration is giving oil
moguls ever-increasing reason to salivate over the thought
of black oil spewing forth from these blue waters.
But get this-
Wisconsin Republican Senator Robert Cowles is seeking
support for a new bill he has introduced that would completely
prohibit drilling beneath the Great Lakes (by the way,
Cowles also recently voted with democrats on banning the
use of cyanide in WI mining practices. He’s a rare breed---a
republican with strong environmental ethics). Joining
his ranks is WI’s Atty. Gen. James Doyle, who recently
called on Republican Gov. Scott McCallum to build an alliance
with other Great Lakes governors to enact a drilling ban."While
I believe passing a state law to ban drilling is critical,
even if Wisconsin passes a law, we would remain at risk
from other states' actions," Doyle said. "What
we need is a regional approach to protecting the Great
Lakes." Gov. Ventura has made few public statements
regarding his opinions of these matters but has made it
clear to concerned citizens and environmentalists, alike,
that he is deeply bummed about the cancellation of the
XFL football league.
Human Rights vs. Environment
opponents of the environmental movement have tied ecological
preservation with a certain anti-human sentiment. Not
so, says the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights,
which recently concluded that “Everyone has the right
to live in a world free from toxic pollution and environmental
degradation.” In other words, to be pro-environment, is
to be pro-human rights. In a statement from the UN Environment
Program, "Environmental conditions clearly help to
determine the extent to which people enjoy their basic
rights to life. It is time to recognize that those who
pollute or destroy the natural environment are not just
committing a crime against nature, but are violating human
rights as well."
Coincidentally, the U.S. was voted off the Commission
on Human Rights on May 3.