This week, Pacific Legal Foundation joined with the Marquette County Road Commission in the upper peninsula of Michigan to appeal the U.S. EPA’s decision to unjustifiably block construction of an important local road project in that region of our country. We join this local government in its effort to fight back against Washington, D.C. overreach.
County Road 595 is a proposed 21-mile route that would allow trucks to bypass busy city streets in Marquette County. As planned and approved by state officials, it would cut air pollution, increase safety, and save over 450,000 gallons of fuel yearly.
Yet EPA regulators have butted in and imposed a roadblock, with a controversial claim that CR 595 would adversely impact wetlands.
With typical inflexibility, federal wetlands regulators have balked at working out a creative, win-win agreement: When local officials offered to protect 26.6 acres of wetlands for every one acre of wetlands filled by the planned road, the EPA demanded more. No matter what the local government agency offered, the EPA and the Corps of Engineers refused to budge.
The feds are also fighting the county’s effort to have the issue reviewed by the judiciary. They’re doing this even in the face of PLF’s recent Hawkes victory at the Supreme Court, which guaranteed owners’ right to seek a second opinion from the courts when the feds declare property “wetlands.”
After having assisted the County as amicus in the trial court, PLF now directly represents the county against the federal bureaucrats in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. We have partnered with Mike Patwell of Clark Hill PLC, a leading environmental lawyer for a national firm that specializes in this area of the law, to seek justice at the Sixth Circuit for Marquette County.
EPA’s inflexible position puts public safety and sensible local planning at risk; PLF will not allow federal regulators to escape judicial review when they overreach.