The Marquette County Road Commission (MCRC), taking advantage of a new law that requires the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to extend a permit processing period at the request of the applicant, has set a decision deadline for October 1 of this year. If desired, the Road Commission may extend the time frame for review of the CR 595/haul road proposal to a year from the date the DEQ deemed the application to be administratively complete, which would be mid-January, 2013.
Although Engineer-Manager Jim Iwanicki of the MCRC has said there is no agreement with Rio Tinto for funding construction of CR 595, Eagle Mine president Adam Burley stated in an April 2011 letter that they wished to amend their agreement with the Road Commission by committing to pay for 595, adding that they would reconsider if construction had not commenced prior to May 2013. Since there are no other identified funding sources, lack of support from Rio Tinto would leave the County with a $60-$80 million dollar tab that they couldn’t pay, effectively tabling the project. Continue reading