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HomeNewsCrawford NewsOpposition growing to Guard's attempt to take another 52k acres

Opposition growing to Guard’s attempt to take another 52k acres

GRAYLING – More counties, villages and townships have joined the now 71 communities that formally oppose the still improper expansion of Camp Grayling.

This is despite the announcement that the Michigan Department of Natural Resource and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs entered into a contract allowing the guard to use an additional 52,000 acres of state lands for its electromagnetic warfare training and testing. This was after the guard originally requested 162,000 acres, leading to a groundswell of opposition across the state.

“This announcement is not a victory while additional Northern Michigan state lands are still under the threat of electromagnetic warfare activities on these recreation lands”, said Jim Knight, a Bear Lake Township Trustee and active opponent to the expansion proposal.

“The Guard has still not demonstrated that they cannot do these maneuvers and testing on their existing 230 square miles, particularly when they have tens of thousands of acres on it they are not using.

“Nor has the Guard stepped up to its responsibility to clean up the various PFAS contamination sites they caused.”

Several months ago the local field office of Michigan Department of Environment, Lakes and Energy called for the clean up of the Guard base caused PFAS contamination months ago”, said Frederic Township Resident Monty Bolis.

“This heightens the concerns because there is no provision in the contract (Titled: Memorandum of Understanding)  for an environmental impact statement to determine the potential adverse effects of the electromagnetic warfare on these state lands, the wildlife and even the people,” he said.

“This Memorandum between the DNR and the Guard has a series of what are labeled restrictions but are all fallacies because there are no provisions in this Memorandum for monitoring; no provisions for reporting violations; no provisions for enforcement; and no provisions for repercussions or penalties for violations of these restrictions by the Guard”, said Mike McNamera, former Deputy Commander of Camp Grayling, another local citizen active in the efforts to enlist local government opposition.

Knight said an additional fallacy in the memorandum is the notion that the public will continue to have access to the areas of these 52,000 acres, that are in scattered locations all over five counties.

Anyone going for a hike, a hunt, a trail ride, etc., who runs into 50, 200 or 600 soldiers and “affiliated partners” on military maneuvers, are going to leave and go elsewhere,” he said. “And that will have an affect on whether those people might choose to move here in the future, as well the the affect on local business when less people come to recreate here as a result.”

There is no provision in the memorandum for public input in the permit review and approval process. There is however, a termination clause. Municipalities and area residents have called on the DNR to reconsider its decision and terminate this contract and deny the guard expansion.

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