DNR’s proposed expansion of Camp Grayling faces opposition from Northern Lower MI local Governments
On June 8, Bear Lake Trustee Jim Knight found out via the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) newsletter about a proposed 162,000 acre expansion to the existing 147,000 acre lease of Camp Grayling, a Michigan National Guard training facility that is the largest of its kind.
Camp Grayling sits on public lands managed by the DNR and used by thousands of people annually who purchase license fees and permits for recreation. The proposed expansion is contingent on a 20-year extension of the lease, for which no money would be exchanged as it is an agreement between two state entities. The additional acreage would be used for experimental weapons testing, including electronic warfare weaponry known to cause health issues. Currently, funding for DNR oversight of the land does not exist.
Jim Knight at the Bear Lake Township Community Center.
The proposal is not sitting well with scores of residents or local governments in the region – the Township of Bear Lake and Kalkaska County have begun to register their formal opposition.
We are in no way anti-military – we just don’t support the expansion of the site.” – Jim Knight
Local governments are also calling for an environmental impact study to be conducted before moving forward. The public lands in question are used by many Michiganders for recreational outdoor activities like kayaking, hunting, and fishing. The proposed expansion encompasses watershed areas, which Knight fears could be damaged with continued military use, and during training exercises a variety of Michigan recreational user groups would lose access to their public land.
According to Camp commander Colonel Scott Meyers, this extra land will be used to train for electronic, cyber and space warfare which requires more space to allow multiple groups to train simultaneously without interference. The DNR’s page on the Camp Grayling lease update proposal states “there are no anticipated environmental impacts from the proposal.”
If they are going to use this type of weaponry, why aren’t they using the space they already have?” said Knight.
Knight feels that there has not been a clear reasoning provided by the DNR or Camp Grayling as to why this training cannot be done within the camp’s 230 square miles of existing grounds. He recently received a complaint from residents who encountered soldiers floating in rafts down the Manistee River with loaded machine guns. Knight fears reports of similar incidents will only increase with the camp’s proposed expansion. While draft plan being reviewed by the DNR includes a 1,500-foot buffer around lakes and rivers, Knight worries that these restrictions will not be enforced.
Credit: 9&10 News.
They couldn’t have picked a worse area. These are important watersheds and Blue Ribbon trout fishing areas. I’m afraid that something bad is going to happen that will cause irreparable damage to the tributaries surrounding the area.” – Jim Knight
“There is not a politician who wants to touch this issue,” Knight explained. He says it has been difficult to find representatives who will partner with the townships’ opposition for fear of coming off as anti-military. Knight welcomes comments and discussion from state officials about the expansion. He can be reached at [email protected].
For more information, check out the Camp Grayling expansion Facebook page.
House Democrats call for Polluter Pay laws
In the wake of the recent hexavalent chromium spill in the Huron River and oil spill in the Rouge River, House Democrats held a press conference Wednesday on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing to stress the importance of holding polluters accountable and calling on their colleagues in the legislature to pass Polluter Pay legislation before the end of the 2022 legislative session.
Watch Michigan LCV’s video on yesterday’s press conference and polluter pay legislation here>>>
As a reminder, Michigan used to have some of the strongest Polluter Pay laws in the country, laws that were gutted under Gov. John Engler. New, strict Polluter Pay laws would ensure that corporate polluters, like Tribar Manufacturing, bear the responsibility and economic cost of clean up.
Metro-Detroit Boil Water Advisory for Next Three Weeks
After a water main break in Port Huron, Great Lakes Water Authority has announced a boil water advisory for 133,000 residents in Almont, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Imlay City, Rochester, Shelby Township, and Washington Township.
55 Gallon Oil Spill in Wayne County
An oil spill was reported Sunday evening in the Rouge River. Western Wayne Hazmat responded to the spill for clean up. It is unclear who is responsible for the spill.
Bell’s Brewery to Invest $480,000 to Protect Clean Water
The Comstock Township brewery plans to donate $1 for every 1 barrel of beer sold. This money will support programs that are focused on providing clean water and water habitat protection.
Michigan LCV’s Newest Endorsed Candidates for House and Senate
Michigan LCV is proud to announce we’ve added eight more candidates to our list of endorsements for the 2022 election! Our endorsements are only awarded to candidates who demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting Michigan’s land, air, water, public health, and democracy. We know that our endorsed candidates will embody our commitments and will serve their communities as environmental champions. Read about the candidates here.
For a full list of Michigan LCV’s endorsed candidates, please visit our 2022 Endorsements webpage.
Help Us Reach a Conservation Majority in Michigan!
Michigan LCV needs you to help us achieve a conservation majority in the Michigan Legislature. Join us at one of our next canvasses!
Canvass for Veronica Klinefelt for State Senate
Aug 29 from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Canvass for Rosemary Bayer for State Senate and Kelly Breen for State Representative
Sep 17 from 10:30am – 1pm
Stay tuned for future volunteer opportunities in your area!