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E-M:/ Wetlands

Enviro-Mich message from Sue Julian <benj@tir.com>

Thank you to Gary Marx for the wetlands lesson and a reminder of what the
legislative intent was back in 1979 when the Goemaere-Anderson Wetlands Act
was passed.

HOWEVER, Mr. Marx failed to continue his quotations to the following
section which lists all the instances in which a permit is NOT NEEDED.
Specifically mentioned is "(h) Maintenance, operation or improvement which
includes straightening, widening, or deepening of the following which is
necessary for the production or harvesting of agricultural products: (i) An
existing private agricultural drain, (ii)That portion of a drain legally
established pursuant to the drain code of 1956...which has been constructed
or improved for drainage purposes. (iii) A drain constructed pursuant to
other provisions of this part..."

That having been said, it is important to look at what land use changes are
occurring, not just engage in a battle of quotes. Apologies to the
generation of DEQ employees that are still trying to implement the spirit
of the law and who hate to see the exemptions, that were originally
intended to benefit agriculture, being twisted around to benefit development.

Now is the time for DEQ to revise this portion of NREPA and its own
administrative rules so that the drain loophole is closed.  With
clarification, there will be no more quibbling about drain "improvements"
that eliminate wetlands or acres of wet woods felled and planted to rye
grass in the name of agriculture that is really the precursor to development.

DEQ should make a start on the scope of this problem which extends to all
the other dodges used to avoid appropriate permitting. NREPA should be
revised at the same time as the Drain Code which is coming up for a vote in
the Senate. This will lay to rest the fundamental conflict between the two
statutes, the conflict that started Drain Code revision in the first place.

The people of Michigan support wetland preservation.  The 3/6/00 Detroit
News article by Jeremy Pearce shows that wetlands have not been protected.
It's time for a change in our laws so patchwork development doesn't destroy
the quality of life and the natural environment that we value.
* Sue Julian                                                    *
* Michigan Drain Code Coalition                                 *
* Phone: (248) 634-3513                                         *
* P.O. Box 304                                                  *
* Holly, MI 48442                                               *
* email: benj@tir.com                                           *
* MDCC Homepage: http://members.tripod.com/Michigan_Drain_Code/ *

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