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Missile plan opposed

To the Journal editor:

On July 24, Gerald Corkin, Marquette County Board chairman, surprised us by publicly announcing that a Detroit based lobbying firm, MAMA, had targeted Granot Loma, a pristine area of high cliffs and unspoiled Lake Superior shoreline north of Marquette, as the site of a commercial vertical rocket launching space port. And, wow, were we ever surprised!

While board minutes of May 7, 2019, do show a resolution supporting a horizontal launch site at K.I. Sawyer, there was absolutely no mention of Granot Loma being considered. For the next nine months, occasional news articles reported K.I. Sawyer being in the running for this horizontal site, but never mentioning any other site in Marquette County.

When on Feb. 20, The Mining Journal reported that Sawyer was not chosen, Marquette County Administrator Scott Erbisch said he hoped Sawyer was still in contention for either the vertical launch site or the command and control center; and Mr. Corkin, speaking of those options said “[T] here’s a site in our county that’s being strongly looked at.” However, there was no disclosure by either Corkin or Erbisch of targeting Granot Loma as a location, nor had there ever been any such disclosure at Board meetings. We, the public, only knew that maybe Sawyer was still in the mix.

At subsequent County board meetings prior to Mr. Corkin’s announcement, the minutes contain no mention of the space port issue. But, in concluding the July 21,2020, meeting, Mr. Corkin cryptically, with no hint of the subject matter, “invited the public to attend a press conference to be held on the front steps of the Courthouse on Thursday, July 23 at 3 p.m. Announcement to be made at that time!”

Before publicly surprising us by announcing a “decision” which directly impacts the unique natural beauty and character of an already endangered Lake Superior shoreline and the quality of life of people living in Marquette and Powell townships, why didn’t our elected officials conduct open meetings to inform us and to solicit public comment and input?

These same officials now chide us to “have patience” and “keep an open mind.” But perhaps they should have first opened the doors to the backrooms where this decision was made and perhaps opened their minds to hear their constituents who will now strongly oppose this misguided plan!

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