Keith Creagh announced a few minutes ago at the DNR Natural Resources Commission meeting in Roscommon that he would approve the land purchase proposal offered by Graymont. The Canadian mining company now has the green light to turn over 10,000 acres of state-owned forest land into open pit and underground limestone quarries.
The DNR Natural Resources Commission rejected the January proposal in that it was too vague and there was no business plan. Graymont raised the price per ton it will pay the state to 30 cents, and offered the town of Rexton half a million dollars over 5 years to go into a fund to be used by the community and local schools. The new proposal provided more detail including:
- The direct sale of 1,781 acres of state-owned land and 7,026 acres of mineral rights to Graymont.
- Land exchange whereby Graymont will acquire 830 acres of state-owned land.
- A ten year option to acquire an easement of 55 acres of state-owned land with an identified area of 535 acres.
Graymont received mineral rights and ownership of land that totals $4.5 million. The DNR will use money received from this land deal to purchase other public land. The largest portion of land that will be an underground mine will still be managed by the state and the public will still have access to large portion of it.
The questions that are not addressed in this deal is the impact such a large mining operation will have on air and water quality in the area. The total land now being turned into open pit and underground mines spans three counties. More people living in the UP will be affected than just the people of Rexton. There’s promises from Graymont that they will protect important wetlands in the area, and public easements will be moved at company expense.
Michigan land and precious natural resources continue to be sold off to low bidders, and the landscape of Michigan will be changed forever – and not for the better.