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      New chapter in Kennecott mine struggle

      The battle to stop the Rio Tinto Kennecott Eagle Minerals Mine opened a new chapter on Monday.

      Four groups are appealing a judge's decision which gave the green light to Kennecott to build and operate the copper and nickel mine. Those opposed to the mine in northwestern Marquette County are concerned about the risk of water and air pollution.

      The opposition groups filed the appeal paperwork on Monday, asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to overturn Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield's decision. Manderfield ruled the Michigan DEQ was in the right issuing the mining company a building permit.

      However, the groups, which include the National Wildlife Federation, say the new mine will not be environmentally friendly.

      "The whole Lake Superior Basin is definitely the subject of a mineral rush, and there will be mineral development here, and we have to make sure that our natural resources are protected," said Michelle Halley of the NWF.

      Kennecott's President Adam Burley issued a statement Monday in response to the opposition. He says that their focus remains on safely and responsibly building an Eagle Mine in compliance with all conditions of their permits, which have been affirmed in previous administrative court rulings.

      This mine is the first to receive a permit under the State Underground Mining Law enacted in 2004.

      Mine construction started in September and is expected to take a year to finish.