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Officials ask for patience on spaceport plans

(File photo courtesy of Northern Michigan Land Brokers) A CHANGE.ORG petition opposing a spaceport, which would be located on the privately owned Granot Loma property, pictured above, on the shores of Lake Superior, has seen nearly 17,000 responses since it launched on July 27.

MARQUETTE — Many people in Marquette County have expressed excitement that a proposed Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association vertical spaceport could be coming to Powell Township, but not everyone shares that sentiment.

A change.org petition opposing the spaceport, which would be located on the privately owned Granot Loma property on the shores of Lake Superior, has seen nearly 17,000 responses since it launched on July 27. Many of the signatures did not originate locally, coming from as far away as Oregon, Washington, Alaska and California.

Lauren Blosser, who started the petition titled “Say no to rocket launch site,” lists concerns about polluting the “clean, fresh waters of Lake Superior,” and “destroying acres of land, that, contrary to popular belief, do have people living there.”

Powell Township resident Melinda Kantola commented that she signed the petition in part due to “many questions” about the project, including “extreme noise pollution and explosions, light pollution and excessive development in an area designated for residential homes, recreation access, shoreline protection and timber management.

“There are many private property owners here of all income brackets,” Kantola’s post states. “It’s rural, but not uninhabited and cherished for its beautiful, local public recreation areas … I feel that the democratic process has been sidestepped and again corporate profits are viewed as more valuable than the people, the lake and the land.”

Marquette County was chosen for the vertical launch site alongside downstate Oscoda, which will be home to a proposed horizontal launch site. The locations were chosen due to existing commercial and public infrastructure, geographic and terrestrial mapping, living standards and workforce development. As part of the plan, an autonomous vehicle proving grounds would be located in Chippewa County.

Lake Superior Community Partnership CEO Amy Clickner said she expects community engagement to be an ongoing part of the process, similar to preparations such as a community advisory committee that led to the Eagle Mine project.

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