I’m writing you in regards to the land you just sold to a Canadian mining company.
While you have already awarded Graymont the 10,000 acres in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and I know I am speaking too late, I thought it important to tell you how disappointed I am in how this process was handled.
I understand that mining has its benefits. However unfortunate it is, our livelihood depends on the extraction of these materials. But I don’t need to tell you that. What I apparently do need to tell you is that Graymont’s purchase of Michigan’s public lands is an absolute affront to conservation, democratic values and all that is “Pure Michigan.” It is money in your pocket, and it is destruction of valuable Michigan habitat (by a Canadian company). It embodies the very reasons Michigan is anything but “pure,” and it’s a slippery slope into other corporate land grabs, the likes of which absolutely terrify me.
I live about 10 miles from the Pigeon River Country State Forest — one of the biggest tracts of state land in the Midwest — and spend countless hours there cross-country skiing, flyfishing, hiking, biking and generally just engaging in everything that makes northern Michigan such an incredible place. PRC is my muse, my meditation, a place where I can catch a 20-inch brown trout and then hear an elk bugle all in the same day. PRC is special to me, and it pains me to think that just an hour’s drive north of where I live and am able to enjoy Michigan’s public lands, someone just had their respective “place” taken from them. Their place was just sold off to a Canadian mining company on the promise that it would bring 50 (if that) short-term jobs to the region. Their place will soon be home to a huge hole in the ground. Their place will likely struggle with contaminated water and destroyed wetlands and countless other issues for years after Graymont has left. Graymont’s predictable public relations spiel (“Economic stimulus!” “Direct and indirect job creation!” “Improved sustainability!” “Supporting society’s infrastructure!”) aside, that scares the absolute crap out of me.
This is not the Pure Michigan seen in the marketing videos and Instagram photos. This is one of the countless reasons Michigan is becoming less and less the place I want to raise my future family. This deal embodies the backwards thinking that has forced me to loath my home state, but above all, this deal is an absolute insult to the very little remaining democratic standards of Michigan’s governance.
When this deal went through, I couldn’t help but think about PRC being sold off to whoever might bid highest on the natural gas beneath its blue-ribbon trout streams, expansive meadows and elk herds. I couldn’t help but think of the fracking that could take place there if we continue running the route we are. Making it all the more disturbing is the fact that the state of Michigan (well, not the state of Michigan because that would have included its residents) just sold 10,000 acres of land to a Canadian (let me just reiterate that one more time) company with almost nothing in the way of public input. Without a single consideration for the long-term well being of the Upper Peninsula, of its ecosystems and communities. Without a single consideration beyond the short-term benefits of a mine that was not wanted, of a mine that was an obvious “no” from the get-go. And here we are. Our greed will destroy us.
Thank you for your time, but please do better to consider the wants and needs of Michigan residents (the owners of those 10,000 acres) next time you make such significant decisions. Our livelihood depends on that more than the materials beneath our feet.