OBH Client MLPA Helps Shed Light on Industry-Touted Aggregates Study

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A series of recent pieces in the Detroit Free Press revealed the role Michigan aggregates industry played in urging MDOT to commission a study which has frequently been cited by the industry as demonstrating an imminent shortage of gravel in the state. The first story recounts how the Michigan Aggregates Association (MAA) communicated closely with MDOT officials to determine the scope of the study, identify potential firms to perform the work, and set the fee. The second piece highlights a request to the Michigan Auditor General from OBH client, citizens group Metamora Land Preservation Alliance, asking the watchdog to investigate industry influence in the commissioning of the study. Citizen efforts have grabbed the attention of lawmakers and state officials: Governor Whitmer last week described the study as “rather unusual” and MDOT director Paul Ajegba ordered a departmental audit of the study.

Legislators and aggregates industry leaders have routinely relied on the 2016 MDOT study as evidence of a need to pass laws to free up resources. In the legislative session that concluded in December 2018, state lawmakers sought to fast track a bill which would have sharply curtailed the ability of municipalities to regulate aggregates extraction within their borders. Largely seen as a response to MLPA’s opposition to a proposed new gravel mine in Metamora Township in the vicinity of several other gravel mining operations and adjacent to EPA Superfund site the Metamora Landfill, MLPA members were instrumental to defeating the legislation late last year. New legislation is expected, but has not yet been introduced. But with the MDOT study getting a second look, and new allies questioning the 500-acre mine, the gravel in Metamora may stay in the ground.


Rebecca L. Millican, Associate Attorney

Rebecca L. Millican is an Associate Attorney with Olson, Bzdok & Howard, PC practicing environmental, land use, and nonprofit law. You can learn more about Rebecca on our site here or contact her at rebecca@envlaw.com.

 

 

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