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E-M:/ wetlands letdown

Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>

One can be sympathetic to the plight of DEQ employees who will be purged if
they openly advocate wetlands protection without giving them all a free
pass.  While the DEQ cannot legally take action against somebody who has
not yet degraded a wetland, its staff can educate local zoning and planning
authorities to prevent or avoid such impacts in land use decisions.  This
is consistent with the DEQ management's current emphasis on education vs.
state regulation.  It would also be helpful if DEQ staff would advocate
from within the agency the necessary strengthening of the state law. If the
Director only hears, "yes, sir," then he is less inclined to support
wetlands protection.  Finally, local governments can pass wetlands
protection ordinances or incorporate wetlands protection into planning and
zoning reviews.  Only about 30 have such ordinances in effect.  In the end,
it appears, wetlands protection will only happen if more citizens raise an
outcry at the state and local levels.

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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