U.P. lawmakers offer support for Marquette County Road Commission lawsuit against EPA

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Sen. Tom Casperson

Sen. Tom Casperson

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and Reps. Ed McBroom, R-Escanaba, and John Kivela, D-Marquette, issued the following statements in support of a lawsuit filed by the Marquette County Road Commission on Friday, challenging the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block construction of County Road 595.

Statement by Sen. Casperson:

“The EPA, in its objection to the construction of County Road 595, has once again overstepped its bounds and demonstrated its politically motivated agenda. The agency, without reason or merit, has hamstrung the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality from issuing a wetlands permit for County Road 595 simply because it did not fit the agency’s agenda.

“Make no mistake: It is completely within the authority of the road commission to plan and construct safe and efficient roads and bridges for motorists within the county. Despite the facts that County Road 595 meets a need, would be funded without taxpayer dollars, and constructed in an environmentally responsible manner that the DEQ agrees with, the EPA arbitrarily brought the project to a halt.

“Instead of doing its job and approving the project, the EPA has instead opted for political theater. By blocking County Road 595’s construction, the EPA is doing nothing to improve the access of emergency, commercial, industrial, and recreational vehicles to a key area of northwest Marquette County. From elected officials at the state and local levels, to job providers and labor organizations, to conservationists, public safety officials and the general public, nearly everyone agrees County Road 595 would improve the way of life of county residents.

“I support this lawsuit not only for the reasons I’ve cited, but also because we need to shine a light on the dark actions of the EPA. It colludes with politically motivated environmental groups to make decisions without following proper procedures or holding public hearings. It is an operation run amok, not a government agency of, by, and for the people. I trust that the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan will see these things for what they are and rule in favor of the people of Marquette County.”

Statement by Rep. McBroom:

“I hope this suit against the EPA will begin to end the nightmare of increasing federal regulations and interference that run against the best interests and decisions of local communities and the states.”

Statement by Rep. Kivela:

“I applaud the road commission for moving forward with this lawsuit. Building of County Road 595 is sensible from so many perspectives, including that of public safety, the environment and the economy, and supported by an overwhelming group of interests, individuals, stakeholders and elected leaders, including all the U.P. legislators, U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and retired U.S. Senator Carl Levin.

“It is regrettable that the EPA didn’t issue the permit to build the road as it is uncontroverted that the road will reduce the heavy traffic on Marquette streets and cut fuel consumption by creating a shorter route for trucks to travel from the Eagle Mine to its processing plant in Humboldt. This is a win-win situation for everyone and I now hope that this lawsuit will permit its construction.”

Last March, the Senate adopted a resolution sponsored by Casperson backing the Marquette County Road Commission in its appeal of the EPA decision. Video of Casperson speaking about the resolution is available online.

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