LANSING – State Representatives Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), John Kivela (D-Marquette) and state Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) said today that they appreciate the support of their House colleagues in their efforts to help the Marquette County Road Commission win approval to build County Road 595. The House today adopted Kivela’s House Resolution 13 and Dianda’s House Concurrent Resolution 1. Casperson is the sponsor of Senate Resolution 9. The resolutions support the Marquette County Road Commission’s appeal of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to deny approval for the building of the road.
“Now that the House is on board and supporting County Road 595, I hope the Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder follow suit so we can present a united front to the EPA and get the approval we need,” said Dianda. “For the good of Eagle Mine and our communities, this road needs to get built sooner rather than later.”
Nearly 100 semi-trucks and contractor vehicles travel the 120-mile round trip every day from the mine to Humboldt along a route including portions of County Road 550 and other local streets. County Road 595 would divert that commercial traffic by completing a new Class A road over a 21-mile dirt road connecting County Road AAA in Michigamme Township with U.S. 41 in Humboldt Township. The shorter route from Eagle Mine to their processing plant in Humboldt also would be a significant savings on fuel costs for the mine. The actual building of the road will also create as many as 200 construction jobs for U.P. residents.
“Adding the state House of Representative’s support to that of Congressman Dan Benishek, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, retired U.S. Senator Carl Levin and community leaders should send a clear signal to the EPA that they need to drop their denial and approve this road without any further delay” said Kivela. “The solution to heavy trucks traveling on city streets and through Northern Michigan University is trading the current 120-mile round trip for a round trip of a little more than 40 miles on what will be County Road 595.”
Last week, Marquette County Road Commissioner James M. Iwanicki and Republic Township Supervisor Gary Johnson came to Lansing to testify in support of the resolutions at a joint meeting of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Transportation Committee. The House and Senate resolutions show the bipartisan support for this new county road. The road commission was unable to issue a wetlands permit needed to build the road because the EPA objected, despite the fact it offered some 26 acres of wetlands for every one of the 22 acres that was proposed to be relocated.
“The overwhelming, bipartisan support that the Resolutions received in the House today, I believe, are reflective of just how egregious the EPA’s actions were in denying County Road 595 from being built,” said Casperson. “I look forward to the Senate taking up SR 9 next week, as I believe the Senate will be equally as supportive of the Marquette County Road Commission’s decision to appeal, and share in the outlook that the EPA’s actions were arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable.”