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E-M:/ Keweenaw land exchange meeting in Hancock

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

About 250 people turned out at Suomi College in Hancock to a DNR Open House
regarding the proposed land exchange between Champion International's Lake
Superior Land Company and the DNR.  The huge crowd almost entirely came
from nearby, and listened politely to the DNR presentation of facts and
figures about the proposed trade, as well as what the DNR's process for
considering the trade will be. Top DNR officials, including the director
and one NRC member attended as well.  Maps were provided with both areas of
land that Champion has asked DNR consider.  At the end of the presentation,
the DNR asked participants to clear the room so they could set up tables
for their "listening session" type of meeting.  Reports on local radio
suggest many crowd members left angrily because of the format, having come
to testify to the whole room not just have private conversations with DNR
officials.  In fact, the format made it impossible to assess what the
inclinations or mood of the participants was, whether there is support or
opposition to the trade.

By coincidence, or design, earlier in the day Keweenaw County set a hearing
in Eagle River regarding the proposed development of Bete Gris, another
Lake Superior Land Co. property adjacent to the proposed exchange area.
A newspaper report anticipating the meeting indicated expectations of a
large turnout as well, and a County Commissioner was quoted as having
received a huge number of calls. Perhaps someone familiar with the outcome
of that meeting can report to Enviro-Mich.

Perhaps that all then explains why a land use workshop aimed toward
promoting better planning and coordination among community members was
scheduled for this same week.  Busy times up on the Keweenaw!

Anne Woiwode

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