MDEQ director on regional tour

MARQUETTE – Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant is making a three-day tour of the Upper Peninsula this week, including a stop in Marquette Friday to celebrate the opening of the DEQ’s new district office and to tour the brownfield redevelopment of Founders Landing.

In all, Wyant will make stops in Mackinac, Luce, Marquette and Dickinson counties.

At 8 a.m. Friday, Wyant and state Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, will tour the 25-acre Founders Landing Brownfield Redevelopment site in downtown Marquette. The city of Marquette and the DEQ have spent more than $2 million to clean up fuel storage tanks formerly located at the site.

The area has since been redeveloped for commercial, recreational and residential uses.

At 11 a.m. Friday, Wyant will attend an open house for the DEQ’s new district office at 1504 W. Washington St. The DEQ relocated its office from K.I. Sawyer in November.

Marquette Mayor Robert Niemi is also scheduled to make remarks at the open house and he and Wyant will be available to talk to local residents at the event. Members of the Marquette City Commission and Marquette County Board have also been invited to attend.

Wyant’s U.P. visit began this morning in Cedarville in Mackinac County. He was scheduled to take a boat tour to the waters surrounding the Les Cheneaux Islands to see several methods used by the Les Cheneaux Watershed Council to control Eurasian water milfoil, an aquatic invasive species.

This afternoon, Wyant was scheduled to be in Newberry to visit the Old Charcoal Iron Facility, which was previously contaminated. The brownfield site is expected to be used to build the Tahquamenon Outdoor Recreation Complex, which will house the country’s first National Hockey League-sized synthetic ice sheet.

Wyant was also scheduled to tour the Louisiana-Pacific Mill in Sagola today with state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and state Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan. The business manufactures oriented strandboard, which is used in residential construction as roofing and flooring.

According to the DEQ, the mill focuses on sustainable operation by using bark and wood fines from its wood to produce about 75 percent of the mill’s energy needs.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.