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Official Statement from Operating Engineers 324 regarding the Groveland Mine Solar project

For more than 100 years, Operating Engineers 324 (OE 324) has worked to keep Michigan running. Our over 14,000 members – Heavy Equipment Operators and Technicians – build the highways, bridges, factories, and utilities across this great state from Marquette to Monroe. We have been, and remain, integral to the energy infrastructure of the State of Michigan. We build wind turbines, power plants, solar farms and pipelines.

Safe, reliable, and secure energy infrastructure helps drive Michigan’s economic progress, which in turn provides a good quality of life for most Michiganders. As we pivot to utilizing a higher percentage of environmentally sound, renewable energy sources, it is important that we enable those who make these projects possible and move our energy grid into the future. That is why OE 324 strongly supports the Groveland Mine Solar Project and encourage Felch, Norway, and Sagola Townships to approve the project.

The Groveland Mine Solar project is a great opportunity – for the townships, for the Upper Peninsula, and for the skilled working people of the region. The investment it offers to the region – over $100 million in construction, as well as the dollars it will bring to the area’s businesses, is only the start. The tax dollars it would provide are an absolute boon to area schools, services, and communities. It offers benefits to every child, senior, family, and resident in the area and promises the kind of investment that is only possible through projects of this scale.

For us at Operating Engineers 324, it is the promise that this project will utilize the most highly skilled, experienced, and capable workers to build the solar farm. By agreeing to use only union construction labor, the project guarantees the highest standards in safety and proficiency, while ensuring workers will be paid fairly and treated with dignity.

Projects like Groveland Mine Solar do not come along very often – large scale projects that are environmentally sound, ensure safe working conditions using the highest skilled union workers, address an emerging technology and need, while putting significant dollars into the community. This project is a win for all parties involved.

Operating Engineers 324 looks forward for the opportunity to put our members to work on this project and utilize our skills to help build something important and essential. We thank the townships of Felch, Norway, and Sagola for their consideration, and hope they will approve this project and move it forward.