L’ANSE – The Baraga County Board passed a resolution in support of the proposed Summit Lake Wind Project at a special meeting on Friday.
The board said it was in its legal right to support the project, although some residents attending the special meeting expressed frustration with the meeting being held at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday.
The board did allow community members in attendance to voice their concerns. Several said they believed this endorsement would influence L’Anse Township’s decision.
“We have nothing to do with the final decision on this, and I don’t think we’re advising the Township Board. We’re just stating our opinion,” said commissioner Mike Koskinen.
The L’Anse Area School Board recently announced its support for the project as well.
Some residents said the timing of the meeting did not promote the attendance of working people and accused the scheduling of being “sneaky.”
Despite the short notice, the room was full.
Some concerns were whether the board was just in favor for money, how it will improve the community and how the board’s reasoning for supporting the project didn’t coincide with the information and statistics presented by Michigan State University representatives at a previous meeting.
Koskinen defended the board’s support for the project and its financial benefits.
“There’s a lot of benefits to it,” he said. “Right now we’re working on a shoestring (budget). We’re working payday to payday around here,” said Koskinen.
Mark Massicotte, chairman of the Baraga Economic Development Corporation, argued that everybody was allowed to have their own opinion and responded to complaints about statistics.
“When you talk about school, services and those things, there was a noticeable improvement (reported), so I guess you can pick out anything you want out of it and come to a decision, but generally this is a true statement,” he said.
He said he was in support of the process and hoped to hear more facts from Renewable Energy Systems Group but suggested there were other more pressing issues for the Baraga County community to address.
“We’ve got people detoxing in their homes, and we’re paying attention and worried about this. … As a community we need to really pay attention to those things,” said Massicotte.
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