Viewpoint: LEAP, Trezise lack plan, ignore environmental concerns in marketing Eagle Twp. megasite

In a recent opinion column in the Lansing State Journal, Bob Trezise, CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, argued his “megasite” factory would create jobs and spur economic growth by cleaving 1,400 acres of farmland from Eagle Township and selling it to the highest bidder, irreversibly destroying the land for future generations.

Trezise claims the megasite will positively benefit the Eagle and Grand Ledge areas, yet nowhere in his article, or anywhere else, can we find real information to justify his claim.

How can Eagle Township residents make a decision of this magnitude with no information? According to township and LEAP officials, there currently is no planned development.

Who is buying the property? What kind of industry will it be? Why are our elected officials required to sign non-disclosure agreements preventing them from communicating with their own voters?

Trezise’s sales pitch equates to “trust me, you really need this product. You just have to buy it first and you’ll see.”

History should make us leery

We’ve all seen the recent reports of environmental disasters throughout Michigan and the Midwest. The explosion and fire at the Dicastal North America manufacturing plant in Greenville, Michigan last week; the train derailment and toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, in February; and the still unresolved Flint water crisis all occurred despite stringent government standards.

These incidents caused irreparable damage to the environment and to the health and safety of residents, all under the watchful eye of government agencies.

An incident like one of these, combined with the susceptibility of farmland that has been tilled for decades, carries grave environmental risks that LEAP has not considered as it will take ANY corporate interest willing to buy the property.

Matt Bedard, viewpoint columnist, Eagle Township megasite opponent
Matt Bedard, viewpoint columnist, Eagle Township megasite opponent

The promise of some unspecified economic benefit is moot when a single train derailment, truck crash, fluid leak or fire could cause irreparable harm.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2,000 acres of farmland are lost per day to commercial development.

This loss cannot be reversed. It threatens the long-term sustainability of our food supply, disrupts important ecosystems, threatens the survival of native species and reduces biodiversity.

The amount of land being proposed for this project is incredibly wasteful. The only known interest in the site to date was reportedly from a chip manufacturer. The top producer of chips in the world, Taiwan, relies on a high output model with factories that are usually on 100 acres or less. It defies reason to destroy farmland when there are more efficient alternatives.

While Trezise’s megasite factory presents an excellent addition to his own resume, he completely fails to consider the negative consequences of industrializing farmland. We cannot ignore the risks of industrial accidents, the loss of precious farmland, and the irreparable environmental consequences this project will have on our community and our state.

There are more efficient and responsible ways to create jobs and spur economic growth.

Matt Bedard grew up on his parents hobby farm in Eagle Township. He lives in neighboring Watertown Township and opposes LEAP's practices to bring a megasite development to the township.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: LEAP, Bob Trezise ignore environmental concern for Eagle Twp. megasite