Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Resolution from Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve to EPA

[Editor's Note: The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve of Big Bay, Michigan, sent this Resolution to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 in Chicago as part of public comment on the EPA's objection to the Marquette County Road Commission's wetland and streams permit application for the proposed CR 595. The Resolution is reprinted here with permission.]

Whereas: County Road 595 has been officially recognized in County, State and Federal documents as "Kennecott’s haul road," with permitting and construction costs to be paid for by the company,

Whereas: The route for CR 595 was selected by a mining company to serve their needs, with minimal regard for sensitive wetlands areas, nesting habitat, migration patterns, and other environmental concerns,

Whereas: Kennecott has previously identified existing roads as being adequate for their purposes and stated that they would provide for the necessary upgrades,

Whereas: Improvements to existing roads would have substantially fewer negative effects on the environment,

Whereas: Construction of a bypass north of the city of Marquette would relieve truck traffic within the city limits,

Whereas: Arguments that a route must be located west of the Silver Lake Basin in case of dam failure lack support,

Whereas: There is no documented, long-standing need for a new road through this area,

Whereas: The Michigan DNR objected to construction of a south haul route as long ago as 2009, citing a long list of concerns including habitat fragmentation, an increase in secondary roads, negative impacts on birds and other wildlife, disruption of groundwater flow, and an increase in hunting and trapping pressures,

Whereas: The timber industry has operated safely and successfully on existing roads,

Whereas: Running a haul road through an undeveloped wild area would have a negative effect on tourism and quality of life in Marquette County,

Whereas: CR 595 would primarily benefit a private corporation,

Whereas: Federal law requires that environmental impacts from a proposed activity be reviewed on a cumulative basis while Kennecott is seeking permits piecemeal for exploration, mining, milling, extension of electrical, and construction of a haul road,

Whereas: Constructing a major highway in the proposed corridor would result in greater numbers of wildlife-vehicle accidents could potentially increase the number of wildfires and other incidents requiring emergency assistance,

Whereas: The Marquette County Road Commission does not have the resources to maintain another major roadway and needs $200,000,000 to reverse the deterioration of our current roads and bridges,

Whereas: 61 percent of Marquette County roads and 55 percent of bridges are in need of repair,

Whereas: According to a report by the Surface Transportation Policy Project, investments in road and bridge repair create 9 percent more jobs per dollar than building new roads or bridges,

Now therefore let it be resolved that the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve and their membership of 484 individuals from Marquette County and across the US recognizes that it is not in the public’s best interest to construct a new primary all-season county road to run north-south in the corridor proposed for CR 595.


Editor's Note: In addition to this Resolution from Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, similar resolutions opposing CR 595 have been sent to EPA by the following organizations and groups:  Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, Medical Professionals Against Sulfide Mining, Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club Central Upper Peninsula Group, Save the Wild UP and Friends of the Land of Keweenaw.

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