Lawsuit between Marquette County Road Commission, EPA could go before U.S. Supreme Court

Published: Nov. 6, 2018 at 5:51 PM EST
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A lawsuit between the Marquette County Road Commission and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could be headed to the United States Supreme Court. The road commission is questioning the EPA's denial of a permit to build County Road 595.

"We just would like our day in court to question the EPA on why they denied our permit for County Road 595," Engineer Manager for the Marquette County Road Commission.

County Road 595 would have spanned 20 miles through the western end of Marquette County. Its purpose, to provide a more direct route between Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill.

"As a community, as a whole, 595 was a lot better answer for Marquette County," said Iwanicki.

"We believe here the U.S. Supreme Court will read our petition, review our case on the merits, ultimately, and agree with us that the road commission's plan as approved by the state should at least be considered by a judge as compared to the EPAs decision to reject that plan," said Mark Miller, Senior Attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, representing the road commission.

Proposed in 2012, the EPA blocked the Marquette County Road Commission's permit to build 595. Now the road commission taking their case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We're challenging the EPA and making sure that they follow the rules and regulations," said Iwanicki. "We feel that part of this lawsuit is that they didn't follow the rules and regulations that are in place."

Iwanicki says the Marquette County Road Commission does not have the funding to build County Road 595. He says the purpose of the lawsuit is to have the U.S. Supreme Court review the decision of the Michigan Appeals Court to side with the EPA and to get an explanation as to why the the EPA turned down the permit in the first place.

Rather than re-apply for another permit to build, Iwanicki says he wants answers on the EPA's decision. He says the road commission was not given a solid answer on why the EPA ruled against the road's construction.

The construction of 595 would have gone through undeveloped wetlands.

"There is no mechanism right now to build 595," said Iwanicki. "Right now it is more of the issue of, were we treated fairly and was the permit looked at properly. If not then those people that didn't look at it properly should be addressed and called forward on the carpet."

"This (case) is the little guy taking on big government," said Miller.

There is no confirmation yet on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the road commission's case. TV6 & FOX UP will have updates on the case when they become available.

TV6 has reached out to the EPA for comment but has not heard back.