GRAYLING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Michigan Army National Guard’s Camp Grayling – the largest National Guard Training Facility in the country – is seeking to expand its borders, but some greatly oppose this citing unaddressed PFAs contamination as a concern.
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While the DNR is reviewing the Guard’s proposal to double in size by leasing more than 160,000 acres of nearby state land, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division cautioned the agency to think carefully.
“EGLE Gaylord RRD does not support the expansion of Camp Grayling based upon the inability to take timely action to investigate, mitigate, and remediate significant areas of contamination at Camp Grayling,” District Supervisor of Remediation and Redevelopment Division Randall Rothe said in a letter, “It is EGLE Gaylord RRD’s recommendation to the Michigan DNR not to accept an expansion of Camp Grayling until significant progress and timely action is taken.”
The 11 page letter highlights several areas in which PFAs contaminations from the camp have continued to negatively impact surrounding areas without consequence nor clean up. Many areas imparted are natural locations such as Lake Margrethe area or Au Sable River, but it also extends to city residents’ drinking water which has been shown to has periodic detections of PFHxS from PFAs contamination and its recommended that homes use whole home filtration before using point of use filtration.
“The deficiencies in this document should not be treated as an exhaustive list,” the letter said. “EGLE expects further investigation while interim remedial measures are implemented to protect public health & the environment.”
Community Members and Outdoor Enthusiasts also opposed the expansion plan when it was first brought up in June. Michigan United Conservation Clubs led by Amy Trotter – a statewide organization of upwards of 40,000 hunters, anglers, trappers, and conservationists – are anti-expansion according to the Record Eagle.
““MUCC, like all of us on this call today, supports our military and its brave men and women. Those men and women have served as our members as well.” Trotter said. “They stand with us in this opposition. There needs to be balance in this process, due diligence and public transparency.”
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The expansion is necessary to guard officials who believe it would better prepare troops for modern combat and allow for more training space for modern cyber, electronic and space warfare. They have vowed to limit training in the expansion zone to only low-impact activities, while maintaining a 1,500 foot buffer around waterways according to Bridge Michigan.
The DNR is still reviewing the proposal, but if it agrees to move forward, the agency and the military will begin a review process that could end in a decision late this year.
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