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Help Protect the Saugatuck Dunes on August 26
Posted: Aug 21, 2013

Please come to the public hearing to discuss Aubrey McClendon’s Singapore Dunes road permit on August 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Saugatuck High School Auditorium (401 Elizabeth Street in Saugatuck).

All of us who care about our community and the extraordinary Saugatuck Dunes need to make sure by our presence and our letters that the MDEQ understands that the road request is NOT in the public interest and does not meet the standards required. And it is equally important to voice support for the public acquisition of this land. This is the best way to serve the public interest!

Please come prepared to speak on two very different issues: one really great, one very troubling.

FIRST SOME REALLY GREAT NEWS: Mr. McClendon has just listed his 310-acres for sale for $40 million. The Singapore Dunes property is essential to our community’s vision for balanced development. Public acquisition of the property was defined as the first priority of our Tri-Community Comprehensive Master Plan that was published before Mr. McClendon acquired the land. That priority has not changed and right now we have the opportunity to achieve that goal.
THE DEQ needs to hear overwhelming support for public acquisition of this land. It is time to urge the State to invest in this property as a regional resource.

NOW..THE TROUBLING NEWS: Even with the land for sale, Singapore Dunes LLC is seeking approval for a new road through dunes and wetlands – this is the subject of the Public Hearing on Monday, August 26. This proposed road would initially pave over 200,000 square feet of coastal dunes and wetlands, chop down over 500 trees, and use more than 30,000 yards of fill. Your voice is needed to inform the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) why this extra road is not needed and the many ways it would be harmful to the surrounding area.

Sending your comments in writing to the MDEQ is another important way to help protect the dunes from being unnecessarily damaged. (See below for where to send comments and some helpful facts about this issue.)

We have provided additional talking points and quotes from studies and reports that can also be incorporated into your letter at this link here: http://thewmeacblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/sdca-august-26-permit-talking-points.pdf

Please email a copy to the Coastal Alliance as well: info@saugatuckdunescoastalalliance.com.

If you would like to submit comment electronically, you may do so via the DEQ form here: http://www.deq.state.mi.us/lwmpnh/InformationPage.asp?aid=13030079&at=ph

Or via West Michigan Environmental Action Council's action form here: http://statevoices.salsalabs.com/o/79/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=699


LETTER TEMPLATE BELOW

Ben Zimont
MDEQ
WRD
Kalamazoo District Office
7953 Adobe Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49009-5025
269-567-3500
ZIMONTB@michigan.gov

RE:
Application Number: 13-03-0079-P
Applicant: Singapore Dunes, LLC
Project Location: T03N, R16W, Section 4, Saugatuck Township, Allegan County
Regulatory Authority under NREPA: Part 303, Wetlands
http://www.deq.state.mi.us/lwmpnh-data/13030079pn.pdf

Dear Mr. Zimont,

I am writing regarding the Singapore Dunes road permit application (DEQ file number 13-03-0079-P).

I would like to make two points:

First, I want the State of Michigan to work to make the 310 acres now for sale by Singapore Dunes LLC part of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park Natural Area. The Kalamazoo River mouth has been looked at for more than 60 years as an area to be protected and placed into the public trust – now is the time to make this happen.

Second, I want the DEQ to deny this permit. The road, as it is currently proposed through the forested dunes and interdunal wetlands, is not in the public interest.

Several scientists, including Lissa Leege and Peter Murphy, who have collectively spent over sixty years studying the Saugatuck Dunes and wetpannes, have articulated how the proposed road will damage the dunes ecosystem.

Damaging the dunes and interdunal wetlands, or wetpannes, at the Kalamazoo River mouth is not in the public interest as detailed in the Tri-Community Master Plan and many other reports, studies, policy papers, and zoning laws governing the Singapore Dunes LLC property.

The Singapore Dunes property must be developed in such a way that it fully preserves the migratory bird pathways that support several listed threatened and endangered species, the globally imperiled interdunal wetlands and world-class freshwater dune structures. These invaluable resources are part of a whole dunes ecosystem that includes the Saugatuck Dunes State Park Natural Area. As detailed above by noted scientists, the proposed road will cause damage to these unique resources. As the property in question is nearly completely surrounded by publicly-funded natural areas, the DEQ must deny the permit.

I encourage Michigan’s state agencies charged with the task of protecting our remarkable natural resources to immediately begin efforts to add the Singapore Dunes property to the Saugatuck Dunes State Park Natural Area.

Thank you,

INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS HERE

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