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E-M:/ Oppose Weakened Natural River Act: Sample Letter

Enviro-Mich message from Michigan Land Use Institute <mlui@traverse.com>

	A proposal to weaken the Natural River Act has been slipped into an
appropriations bill to be voted on this week by the state House. The Sierra
Club discovered the offending clause, section 908 of HB5591, which would
give property rights groups the authority to prevent the Department of
Natural Resources from designating new natural rivers. 
	This is a letter, sent by the Michigan Land Use Institute, to its
representative opposing approval of the clause. We have made it available
as a template for other organizations working on the issue.
									April 28, 1998
The Hon. Bill Bobier
District 101
Room 625
George Romney Building
Lansing, Michigan

Dear Bill,
	I write to urge you to reject immediately the language in HB5591, section
908, that seeks to amend the Natural River Act by giving reactionary
interest groups the authority to prevent the DNR from managing natural
	The Michigan Land Use Institute and its more than 1,000 member
organizations, local governments, and families support the Natural River
Act. It is a useful policy that has protected the serenity and beauty of
rivers in our region while also safeguarding the rights of land owners
fortunate enough to live on their banks. Michigan has an exemplary law in
place to protect its most beautiful waterways. It needs to be strengthened,
not weakened.
	That the Natural River Act has become a target of misguided property
rights groups is lamentable. The views of these organizations is contrary
to the public interest and reflects both deliberate misreading of the law
and an absorbing selfishness that you also should find troubling.
	Most importantly, we abhor the sneaky, back door, cowardly manner in which
this proposal was introduced. Approving such a proposal, slipped into law
without a full-throated public debate, reflects poorly on the sponsors and
on the entire process. The same approach failed during the 1994 and 1996
sessions of Congress because of public aversion to such tactics. The
Michigan Legislature should oppose such craven policy making. Michigan
residents will not stand for it on this or any other policy proposal. 
	If the Legislature chooses to amend a core proposal of the Natural River
Act, it should do so with the best of democratic tradition at work.
Schedule hearings. Invite public testimony. Weigh opposing arguments and
then vote. 
	Should the Legislature take up such an effort, we are confident those
interested in strengthening the Natural River Act would prevail. This is a
good law. It reflects the core values of the majority of Michigan
residents. For that reason alone, please kill section 908 of HB 5591.
							Yours Sincerely,

							Keith Schneider
							Executive Director


"Careful research and reasoned advocacy
to protect the environment, enhance
economic opportunity, and support
vibrant communities."

P.O. Box 228
Benzonia, MI 49616
616-882-4723 /*\ 616-882-7350 fax

**NOTE: Please make sure to include the name
of the person you're writing to in the 
subject line of your message.**

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