Marquette County Road Commission sues EPA

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Road Commission has decided to sue the EPA over the proposed mine road that would connect the Eagle Mine with its ore processing facility at the Humboldt Mill.

The decision to file suit was made at last night’s road commission meeting, held at the Marquette Township Hall. The Commission was seeking a wetland fill permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in order to build the proposed County Road 595.

The DEQ denied the permit, citing EPA findings that construction would adversely affect local wetlands.

“The board thought that if they did not challenge the decision the EPA made on 595 that it would hurt their efforts to do our mission statement in the future which is to provide a safe and efficient system of county roads here in Marquette County,” said Jim Iwanicki, Engineer Manager of the Marquette County Road Commission.

The road commission hopes a judge will allow the road to be built. The new road would shorten the distance truckers have to travel between the Eagle Mine and the Humboldt mill.

“By adding it, we believe its the safest, most efficient way to provide access to that part of our county,” Iwanicki added.

The Road Commission claims this would make nearby roads, like the current route on County Road 550, safer, and even reduce air pollution. If built, County Road 595 would span almost 22 miles through Champion, Ely, Humboldt and Michigamme Townships, connecting US-41 to County Road Triple A.

In its permit application, mine officials said the construction will affect would affect nearly 26 acres of wetlands and require 22 stream crossings.