March 19, 2015

Sierra Club Calls on DNR Director Creagh to Deny Graymont Land Sale

Decision Expected at Natural Resources Commissions Meeting Thursday

Media Contact: Anne Woiwode, , 517-484-2372 x 11
Note:  Sierra Club Forest Ecologist Marvin Roberson will be available at the NRC Meeting Referenced in this release.

LANSING--Sierra Club today called on Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Keith Creagh to reject the sale of DNR lands to Graymont, a Canadian limestone mining company. If approved by Creagh, the proposed sale would constitute the largest sale of publicly owned land to a private company in Michigan’s history.  Creagh’s decision could come as soon as Thursday at the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting in Roscommon. 

“Director Creagh should follow the law with regard to disposal of state lands and deny this proposed sale,” said Marvin Roberson, Sierra Club Forest Ecologist.  “As proposed, the Graymont sale would establish a dangerous precedent and undermine our long-standing Michigan tradition of ensuring publicly owned lands that we value today are also there for future generations of Michiganders.”

Sierra Club’s concerns were detailed in a March 16 letter to Director Creagh and will be presented at the NRC meeting Thursday.  In the letter, Sierra Club outlined Creagh’s failure to comply with requirements under state law regarding the sale and disposal of state lands. Other concerns include the state’s failure to make the necessary determination that the proposed Graymont sale involves land that has been designated “surplus” under state law.  Moreover, the scale of the transaction—involving ten times the land of any previous land sale—could set a precedent for other similar sales of that magnitude.

“The DNR has an obligation to manage our public lands to serve the interests of Michigan citizens, who put a very high value on the many benefits our state lands give us,” said Roberson. “Director Creagh is obliged to ensure that he and his agency are serving the long-term interests of the people of Michigan, and the handling of the Graymont proposal fails to comply with that duty.”