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E-M:/ beware the lame-duck legislature

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

Among other threats to the public health, safety and welfare that may
develop in the Legislature between the Nov. 5 election and the end of the
year is an attack on vital wetlands and bottomlands, beginning with those in
Saginaw Bay. During the recent low-water period in the Great Lakes, private
landowners along the Bay have intruded on these publicly-owned Great Lakes
bottomlands, flattening vegetation and destroying habitat. While the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers has held firm in enforcing federal law, property
owners have organized to stop state enforcement, are pressuring federal
officials, and have succeeded in getting DEQ Director Harding to tell staff
they can no longer refer to these bottomlands as "state-owned," although
strong legal precedent says they are.

Now State Representative Brian Palmer has introduced H.B. 6418, which
exempts from state oversight "Beach maintenance" which includes but is not
limited to mowing, leveling of sand, removal of vegetation and grooming of
the top 4 inches of soil of the area of Great Lakes riparian lands between
the ordinary high water mark and the water's edge.

The bill is poised to go on a fast track after the elections if citizens do
not protest, overturning 100 years of public trust law .

Ironically, DEQ itself helped fund an MSU Extension publication that
extolled the value of these wetlands:


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