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E-M:/ straightening things out on wetlands



Michigan was one of only two states, along with New Jersey, to pay for its own wetlands permitting operation while the federal government did it for the other 48 states. What took so long to take action on that no-brainer, which Granholm announced Tuesday?

http://freep.com/article/20090204/COL06/902040409/Granholm+too+late+to+get+tough

Most states with a reasonable amount of water resources have a wetland program.  In many states, the state staff reviews the federal permit applications and provide comments and conditions that are added to the federal permit.  In many states, these comments, along with the direct state regulatory actions, provide the primary protection for wetlands.  This is true even for states that have not been able to assume administration of the program -- although assumption further streamlines the process and eliminates the need for duplicate permits.   Therefore, state assumption of federal permit authority (in MI and NJ) provides a high level of public service. 
 
In many states, the state agencies have essentially taken over the process for the Army Corps for certain categories of permits -- partly to protect resources and partly to move the process along for their citizens.  But the Corps has to put its final stamp of approval on decisions, and the states aren't allowed to handle larger projects.
 
Great Lakes States with state wetland programs funded at state expense:  Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania.  Illinois is developing one.

If Michigan dumps its state wetland program, it will have the weakest protection for wetlands of any Great Lakes state.






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