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DNR OKs controversial UP land deal

Scott Smithson

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources director has approved a controversial land deal in the Upper Peninsula.

Canadian mining company Graymont can now move ahead with plans to mine thousands of acres in the U.P. for limestone. 

DNR director Keith Creagh says the nearly 10,000 acre land deal “balances the public interest in natural resources and economic development in the Upper Peninsula.”  

The deal involves nearly 3,000 acres through purchases or swaps, along with 7,000 acres of state-owned mineral rights.

Company officials describe this as a “generational” mining operation.   

Graymont plans a combination of surface and underground mining operations.

Environmentalists say the land deal is “a dangerous precedent” that will undermine the preservation of state lands for future generations.

“The DNR has an obligation to manage our public lands, to serve the interests of Michigan citizens, who put a very high value on the many benefits our state lands give us,” Sierra Club Forest Ecologist Marvin Roberson said in the statement released before the DNR director’s decision last night in Roscommon. 

The deal does have the support of many people in the U.P., who hope it will generate jobs and other economic development.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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