Evart Potash Plant Takes Another Step Toward Construction

The Michigan DEQ granted a major permit approval to the Michigan Potash Company for a potash plant near Evart.

This is a story Northern Michigan’s News Leader has been following since plans were first announced for the plant that will mine potash.

The Michigan DEQ recently approved permits for 8 solution mining wells and 3 non-hazardous brine disposal wells.

This was one of the final hurdles the Michigan Potash Company had to cross before construction could begin.

The plant could create up to 300 construction jobs and 160 full time jobs by the time construction is complete.

Potash is used for agricultural fertilizing.

Its welcome news business leaders in the Evart area have been waiting for.

“The hourly jobs that are in the area aren’t the highest paying hourly jobs, so I think this will bring more to the economy, the more money people make in the area, the more money they’re going to spend in the area, so I think the businesses will thrive from that also,” said Eric Schmidt, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Michigan Potash Company tells us they hope to break ground in the next few months.

While some in Osceola County are excited about the possibility of the potash plant finally going up, others remain skeptical about what a plant like this means.

Mike Reske lives just down the road from the proposed site of the new potash plant. He says he plans to move once construction begins.

“I can’t put up with the noise and light pollution at night, and I can count almost every star in the sky and when this happens, we will be having 70 semis a day, 24/7, when the plant is up and running which is fine, it’s great for the community, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not great for me,” said Reske.

Mike says he hopes to stay in the area, just not near the potash plant.

“I like the quiet, like right now, how many cars you see down the road, I get maybe 20 cars a day down this road, and not now. I’m happy for him, I’m happy for everyone involved, I just want to be happy for me,” said Reske.

And it appears Mike is not alone, Evart realtor Ashlee Flachs says other people in the area are also listing their homes.

“A lot of people are scared of the potash coming in, so I’ve had a couple of listings in the area where people are hoping to list their home and get out now because they don’t want to be in the vicinity of the potash,” said Flachs.

But she’s also seeing the upside.

“My business is picking up, definitely, I’ve been told a projected of 300 jobs coming into the area approximately so all those people will need housing, so we’ve already been working on flipping houses that have been vacant for a long time, trying to find places for these employees to come and live in the Evart area,” said Flachs.

We also spoke to the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation who told me the felt the DEQ rushed their permit review process and the proposed factory is in ‘ the worst possible spot’.