At the recent annual meeting of Operation Action UP at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, panel members include, from right, Andre Ware (Rio Tinto), David Holli (Holli Forest Products), Don Ryan (Meeting Host), and Dale Hemmila (Cliffs Natural Resources). (Photo © 2011 Teresa Bertossi. Reprinted with permission.)
MARQUETTE -- Teresa Bertossi of Headwaters News recently attended Operation Action UP’s annual meeting, themed "Natural Resources: The Next Generation," at Northern Michigan University. The event was advertised as a panel of "natural resource experts" and the announcement of 2010 award winners, including businesses that have contributed to the economic well being of the Upper Peninsula.
Bertossi cites three industry representatives on the panel: Rio Tinto’s Exploration Manager Andrew Ware, Holli Forest Products’ President Dave Holli, and District Manager of Public Affairs for Cliffs Natural Resources Dale Hemmila. She contrasts their views of the role of natural resources in the Upper Peninsula economy with results from a recent survey conducted by a group of social scientists and natural resource experts from the Carsey Institute.
The purpose of the survey was "to investigate how rural Americans view socioeconomic and environmental changes affecting their lives and communities." Five Upper Peninsula counties were surveyed.
Survey results show that the U.P. ranks high in measures of poverty and out-migration of residents, traits often associated with natural resource-dependent communities. The report also explains that although the U.P. was, "At one time, a region with a high proportion of blue collar middle-class jobs dependent upon natural resources … the future of the U.P. may now rely upon the preservation and maintenance of its natural amenities that could attract new kinds of development."
To read an interesting contrast between viewpoints of these two types of "natural resource experts," click here for Bertossi's article, posted today, Feb. 7, 2011, on Headwaters News.