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Snyder appoints new member to authority overseeing Line 5 tunnel days before first meeting

Justin Billau

Governor Rick Snyder has replaced two-thirds of the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority members just days before the group is expected to approve a controversial tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The decision came after Snyder’s previous appointee, Mike Zimmer, resigned from the authority citing a possible legal conflict. Zimmer is the second appointee to resign.

Michael Nystrom is the new appointee to the authority. He said he followed the tunnel plan through the legislative process and feels prepared to sit on the authority and make a decision on the tunnel plan.

“I gave this some good thought and thought it was a great opportunity to be involved in what will soon be a legacy project for the state of Michigan.”

Nystrom said he understands concerns about the project but it is important to get utilities to the Upper Peninsula.

“Ultimately I view this as a huge opportunity to send further utilities up there and connect them more directly to what’s going on in the world.”

Kate Madigan is with the Michigan Environmental Council. She said the plan has been rushed from the start.

“The fact that two of the appointed members of this body have already resigned just really speaks to how rushed and inadequate this whole process is when really we’re talking about an incredibly important decision.”

The authority is expected to move forward with the tunnel agreement at its meeting in St. Ignace.

The meeting is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 1. You can stream the meeting here: