To the Journal editor:
Like so many others, I remain concerned about the transportation of ore from the Eagle Mine near Big Bay. I don't believe though that most people can yet envision the amount, extent and the impact of this and I don't believe either, that enough has yet been done to deal with it.
I would first of all ask that everyone really consider the impact of all this and particularly those living along this 60 mile haul route! Think about the amount and type of traffic we will be facing all along the Big Bay road and through residential areas and then through Northern Michigan University's campus, Marquette Township and up an already busy highway and through Negaunee and Ishpeming and this in all kinds of weather!
Add to that the wear on the roads, pollution, probable traffic jams and the resulting potential for everything from road rage up to the highly increased possibility of accidents and even deaths resulting from all this! Keep in mind also that the mining company is looking for further ore bodies to develop and so this problem could well be a long term one!
What is going on here? First of all the Federal EPA's rejection of the proposed roadway seems to smack of some sort of "environmentalist's revenge," leaving us with a situation wherein the woodlands are protected at the possible cost of all kinds of havoc up to the likelihood of significant dangers to human life.
Consider all this further in the light of the fact that within the Upper Peninsula we already have literally millions of acres of national and state forests lands as well as a significant abundance of wetlands areas.
Some other solution has to be found even at this relatively last minute. Sue the EPA, build a new smelter at or near the mine site, find another means of getting the ore to a smelter site. If a road can't be built, build an overhead tramway system.
Stockpile the ore during the winter and then move it to the smelter site by helicopter slings as weather permits.
Find a way to ship it out of Big Bay, but stop the trucks! I believe that if all our elected officials at every level, together with the wisdom and the ingenuity of the people of this area, were sought and utilized another solution could be found.
Philip L. White