LANSING – State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) introduced House Concurrent Resolution 1 today supporting the Marquette County Road Commission’s appeal of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of a permit to build County Road 595 in Marquette County. The road is needed so that trucks hauling materials from the Eagle Mine can drive the 22-mile route to its processing plant in Humboldt, instead of driving the 120 mile round trip circuitous route on county roads that take them through population centers including Marquette.
“I want to see County Road 595 built because it will be good for the mine, good for residents and good for the communities in this part of the U.P. Unfortunately, state and federal officials have failed to put what’s good for the community before politics, and that’s why this road still hasn’t been built,” said Dianda. “EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) officials need to work this out so we can build this road.”
The Marquette County Road Commission first applied to MDEQ for permission to build the road. The state agency does have authority in certain situations to allow this kind of road building project, but they denied this application for County Road 595. The application for permission to build the road then went to the EPA, where it was denied without any explanation.
Dianda, along with other U.P. elected officials state Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette) and state Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), all support building the road. Dianda believes that the MDEQ’s failure to allow the road was an effort to retain permitting powers that might have been jeopardized had the EPA determined that the road did not meet federal regulations. There is some thought that the EPA would have taken some of the MDEQ’s authority to have its own permitting process away had the state agency allowed the road to be built.
“The Governor’s administration and MDEQ need to communicate more effectively with each other,” said Dianda. “There could have been a better outcome, but instead this road is not getting built. Meanwhile, trucks weighing about 160,000 pounds are traveling on local roads through neighborhoods and cities. They’re contributing to serious wear and tear on the roads and also ramping up the possibility of serious accidents involving local residents. It’s time to stop fooling around and do what’s right for our U.P. communities and build County Road 595.”