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E-M:/ Corps' Detroit District Announces Destructive Wetland Policy

Enviro-Mich message from "Chris Grubb" <chrisgrubb@watershedcouncil.org>

Michigan Wetland Action Coalition
May 27, 2004
Contact:          Chris Grubb (231) 347 - 1181 x 118
                        Noah Hall (734) 646 - 1400
Corps' Detroit District Announces Destructive Wetland Policy
New Permit Out of Step with Bush Earth Day Promise, Restoration
            The Detroit District of the Army Corps of Engineers released
a new Regional Permit for Michigan today that allows for coastal wetland
destruction by commercial hotel and motel owners in Grand Traverse Bay
and Saginaw Bay. The Regional Permit allows applicants with at least 100
feet of shoreline frontage to discharge fill, do "minor" dredging, and
remove vegetation on one-fourth of the frontage, not to exceed 100 feet.
"It is ironic and troubling that the Corps is going ahead with this
despite the Bush administration's recent announcement of a Great Lakes
restoration initiative and the Earth Day promise of moving beyond the
'no net loss' policy to a net gain of wetlands," said Chris Grubb,
coordinator of the Michigan Wetland Action Coalition (MWAC). Grubb
added, "Clearly this new Regional Permit jeopardizes both of those
positive steps by allowing for the destruction of some of the most
ecologically valuable areas of the Great Lakes."
Closer to home, members of the Senate Natural Resources and
Environmental Affairs Committee recently heard testimony from several
prominent wetland researchers and numerous concerned citizens about the
effects of a state law passed in 2003 that allowed for coastal wetland
destruction. Following the testimony, Committee members on both sides of
the aisle expressed concern about what they heard. Senator Basham
(D-Taylor) said, "I thought when we passed this legislation it was a
good compromise. Had I heard this discussion a year ago, it would have
probably influenced my decision." 
Senator Van Woerkom (R-Muskegon) added, "I was surprised and troubled by
what I heard today." Taking a wise approach, committee Chair Patricia
Birkholz (R-Saugatuck) indicated that she likely would not revisit the
issue before a study is completed that will examine the effects from the
2003 state law.
National Wildlife Federation attorney and MWAC Advisory Board member
Noah Hall commented, "The Corps should have taken a cue from the
Michigan Senate and allowed for research and review of impacts from the
state pilot project before repealing protection of Michigan's coastal
The Michigan Wetland Action Coalition (MWAC), a project of Tip of the
Mitt Watershed Council, is a network of wetland protection advocates
across the state. MWAC is focused on promoting sound wetland protection
policies at the state and federal level through education and advocacy.
Chris Grubb, Policy Associate
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
426 Bay Street
Petoskey, MI 49770
(231) 347-1181 ext. 118
fax: (231) 347-5928
email: chrisgrubb@watershedcouncil.org

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