On March 3, 2015 a Senate resolution co-sponsored by Tom Casperson and Patrick Colbeck was adopted. The resolution supports the Marquette County Road Commission’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling denying them building County Road 595 in 2013. Eagle Mine says they need the new road because it’s a shortcut to the Humboldt Mill 21 miles away. The only problem with this shortcut is it also cuts through the Dead River, the Yellow Dog Watersheds, The Mulligan Creek headwaters, Voelker Creek, Wildcat Canyon and other federally protected wetlands.
Now it appears that Tom Casperson and the Marquette County Road Commission think a few resolutions will make the Environmental Protection Agency back down and allow the road to be built, despite public outcry from residents and property owners. Others who oppose the road being built include the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, The Marquette County Board of Road Commissioners. and Save the Wild UP, which claims that the county road commission is attempting to circumvent federal regulations and go ahead with the road project.
The road would jeopardize waterways, ground water and drinking water for the local community. The road would also be almost exclusively used for commercial traffic from Eagle Mine. In 2012 when discussion about the proposed road took place, the issue with protecting wetlands and providing alternative routes were discussed, but nothing that satisfied current wetland protection regulations. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Army Corps of Engineers asked the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to deny construction of the road, because of the negative impact on protected wetlands.
Now in 2015 the Marquette County Road Commission considers a lawsuit against the EPA and Casperson pushes resolutions to support the road. Eagle Mine promised when they were approved to go into business that they would haul the ore from the mine to a railroad line and move the ore by rail to Humboldt Mill. Rather than make the mine owners keep their promise, Casperson and Colbeck want to undermine the EPA and build a road the feds have already told them they can’t build.
Eagle Mine needs to keep their promise and use the railroad to haul their ore, not destroy wetlands by building a road they were already told once they can’t build. Political theater supporting corporate interests should not be our elected official’s primary purpose.