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      Benishek proposes hearing on County Road 595

      The Marquette County Road Commission spent two years working on a proposal for County Road 595.

      Last week, the permit was denied by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), based on findings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

      The Marquette County Road Commission met with Congressman Dan Benishek Tuesday about the permit.

      "Problem is that it's not a good time. We're opening up a new Congress, so I'm not even sure if I can get it, but we're going to be pushing hard for it because I think this is a great example of what we need to demonstrate to the American people--that this EPA is just overreaching their bounds," said Congressman Benishek.

      The proposed County Road 595 would have started at the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine and traveled 21 miles ending at US-41. The EPA's reasoning was a concern for the wildlife and wetlands.

      Now trucks coming from the mine will travel 60 miles on existing roads 510 and 550 which pass through Marquette including residential areas and Northern Michigan University.

      "The road commission right now is working right now on upgrading those to an all-season trucking route, and that will be about a $45 million project," said Engineer Manager for the Marquette County Road Commission, Jim Iwanicki.

      County Road 595 would have been completely funded by Rio Tinto Eagle Mine at no cost to the Marquette County Road Commission.

      "Is it impossible to construct a county road anywhere in the country without the EPA involved in this? I think that some of the things that they are demanding are not demanded of any other road in the country. So why are we singled out to put a stop to this road?" Benishek asked.

      Congressman Benishek also said the construction of County Road 595 could have created even more jobs for Marquette County.