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Whitmer appoints Michigan mining panel

MARQUETTE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her appointments to the new Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future on Friday, with many of its members hailing from the Upper Peninsula.

The committee, which will be tasked with making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan, was created by legislation that was introduced by state Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette

“We know that without mining, we cannot have our modern lifestyles, with technology, life-saving medical devices or infrastructure,” Cambensy said in a news release. “This committee has the potential to raise the bar and lead the nation in how we mine and protect our vast natural landscape and water resources.”

Committee members are:

— Richard W. Becker, of Monroe, was appointed to represent an aggregate mining operation in the state. He is president of Michigan Paving & Materials Company and the operator of his family’s soybean, corn, and wheat farm in Monroe County.

— Snehamoy Chatterjee, Ph.D., of Houghton, was appointed to represent current or former research faculty members who hold a master’s or doctorate degree in mining or geology at a university in Michigan. He is an assistant professor of mining engineering at Michigan Tech University.

— Sean Hammond, of Lansing, was appointed to represent an environmental nonprofit organization in the state with expertise in mining. He is the deputy policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council.

— Matthew D. Johnson, of Marquette, was appointed to represent a metallic nonferrous mining operation in Michigan. He is the manager of government and community relations for Eagle Mine in Champion Township.

— Stephen Kesler, Ph.D., of Ann Arbor, was appointed to represent current or former research faculty members who hold a master’s or doctorate degree in mining or geology at a university in the state. He is an emeritus professor of the geological sciences at the University of Michigan.

— James M. Kochevar, of Marquette, was appointed to represent a ferrous mining operation in Michigan. He is a registered professional engineer and the general manager of Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. iron ore mining and processing location in Ishpeming.

— Chad J. Korpi, of Ishpeming, was appointed to represent a member of a local chapter of an international steel workers union representing workers at an ongoing ferrous mining operation in Michigan or workers from an idled ferrous mining operation in the state. He is an industrial electrician for Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and the president of amalgamated United Steelworkers Local 4950.

— Jerome Maynard, of Marquette, was appointed to represent an environmental nonprofit organization in Michigan with expertise in mining. He is an attorney and mediator for Jerome I. Maynard, PLC, and a member of the Superior Watershed Partnership board.

— Deborah L. Pellow, of Ishpeming, was appointed to represent a municipality in the state where a ferrous, metallic nonferrous or aggregate mining operation is located. She is a trustee for the Tilden Township Board and the secretary and treasurer for the Marquette County Land Bank Authority.

— Evelyn H. Ravindran, of L’Anse, was appointed to represent a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe that has trust lands in Michigan. She is the director of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department and a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College Environmental Science Program External Advisory Panel.

— Timothy C. Eisele, Ph.D., of Atlantic Mine, is the designee of Cambensy, whose district has the highest production from metallic mineral mines in the state. He is an associate professor from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech, where he teaches minerals processing and metals extraction.

— Harold “Hal” R. Fitch, of Lansing, is the designee of Sen. Ed McBroom, whose district has the highest production from metallic mineral mines in Michigan. He is the president of H.R. Fitch Consulting Services, LLC., and the former director of the Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

All appointed members will serve terms to Jan. 4, 2022.

Additional members of the committee include the chief executive officer of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the director of the Department of Natural Resources, and the director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or their designees.

The committee will evaluate government policies that affect the mining and minerals industry, recommend public policy strategies to enhance the growth of the mining and minerals industry, and advise on the development of partnerships between industries, institutions, environmental groups, funding groups, and state and federal resources and other entities. It will be dissolved 60 days after the submission of its final report.

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