LANSING, Mich.— On Tuesday, Aug. 28, at the request of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold an informational public meeting on the proposed County Road 595.
The Marquette County Road Commission has proposed a new 21.4 mile primary county road, running north-south between U.S. Highway 41 and County Road Triple A, through Champion, Ely, Humboldt, and Michigamme townships.
The meeting and subsequent hearing will take place at the Don H. Bottum University Center at Northern Michigan University. An informational session will begin at 6 p.m. and public comment will begin at 7.
State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, is urging the public to come out to the hearing and lend its voice to the large, silent majority that overwhelmingly approve the construction of County Road 595.
“Marquette County is in dire need of County Road 595. Proponents of the project have been patient for many years, and the time for this road has finally come,” said Casperson. “Public safety in the form of decreased response times by emergency vehicles, additional outdoor recreation opportunities for our residents and, also importantly, jobs is what is at stake for area residents.”
The EPA has reviewed the proposed project and has raised questions as to whether there are practical, alternate routes that would have less impact on aquatic resources.
The EPA’s concerns center around whether the road commission’s proposals that the mitigation of damage to wetlands and streams would not fully compensate for the loss of aquatic functions. The DEQ has the authority to issue wetlands fill permits under the Clean Water Act. The EPA retains oversight authority to object to proposed projects that do not comply with federal guidelines.
“I believe the Marquette County Road Commission has done their research into the possible environmental impact of this road and should be able to complete it with minimal negative affect to area wildlife and natural resources,” Casperson said.
The meetings come after a December, 2011 letter at Casperson’s request, signed by 28 of Michigan’s 38 state senators, in support of the EPA giving the necessary permits to construct the road.