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MEC commends DNR director for taking Hartwick Pines off the auction block

Sep 11, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014

The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) today applauded the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for taking state-owned mineral rights beneath some of the Lower Peninsula's last remaining old-growth forest off the auction block for oil and gas drilling.

Michigan's Oct. 29 auction was set to include the rights to explore and potentially develop oil and gas beneath Hartwick Pines State Park. The proposed lease designations would not have permitted drilling activity on the surface, but would have allowed wells drilled nearby to access oil and gas beneath the park.

MEC and other groups submitted public comments expressing concern that drilling activity so near the popular park threatened its recreational value.

However, citing the original intent of the Hartwick family, who donated the land to the state in 1927 with the intent to conserve resources of both the surface and sub-surface, DNR Director Keith Creagh announced Thursday at an East Lansing meeting of the Natural Resources Commission that he would reclassify the mineral rights beneath the park as non-leasable.

"We appreciate Director Creagh's respect for the Hartwick family's wishes, and thank him for making the right decision to protect this one-of-a-kind park," said Chris Kolb, MEC president. "Personally, I'm thrilled that the experience of standing beneath the park's towering white pines will remain unchanged for visitors to enjoy."
Andy McGlashen: 517-420-1908
RELATED TOPICS: conservation, land use
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