, Central Michigan University
My dad calls it the Magic Trail. It is a short, winding path through a thin forest where the birds, so trusting of humans, will land on seeded hands to grab a snack. Embedded in the safety of a state park, the Magic Trail is as much mine as it is the birds, the rocks, the trees, the deer.
But yesterday, a part of this trail became the property of a new owner, the oil and gas industry. At the hands of our own Department of Natural Resources, the mineral rights of 195,000 acres of our public land was sold to the highest oil and gas industry bidder in the fall edition of a biannual land auction, some for as little as $2/acre.
Sold is one way to describe what happened to the land and water in that grim, austere auction room, but as a citizen of Michigan, a more appropriate word would be stolen. Our land was stolen from us by Big Oil and Gas with the consent of a department whose mission is to conserve and protect.
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