[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

Re: E-M:/ RE: / Free Press: keep wetlands protection in Michigan hands

Keeping state control of wetlands is critical. Not only does the state offer more staff and clearer regulations than the federal government, they also allow better citizen participation into the decision making progress. Also, Michigan is not one of two states with a wetland programs - the majority of states have wetlands programs. Michigan and New Jersey are the only two with federal authority, but most states have wetlands program and provide water quality certification before a federal wetland permit can be issued (state approval/certification is required by the federal government prior to them issuing their permit). In every other state, permit applicants must get state permits/certifications and federal permits – Michigan and New Jersey are significantly streamlined over any other state.  Michigan is the envy of a lot of other states who want federal authority.
Federal authority allows Michigan to offer more public participation opportunity for citizens and less red tape for permit applicants (along with the many other benefits of having state input on development in their state). The state wetlands program may be currently underfunded, but I assure you, it is way better then anything at the federal level. Also, people should look into the many regulatory problems that the federal program is having. Not only can they not tell you what wetlands they regulate, but they also don’t normally regulate dredging or draining of wetlands. That doesn’t sound like wetland protection to me. Those who question the state program should take a closer look at the alternative.
Check out http://groups.google.com/group/michigan-wetlands

On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 6:54 PM, Dave Wolf <Dave_Wolf@comcast.net> wrote:

Michigan is NOT currently administering our wetland program appropriately. Even if we try to maintain that status-quo, the situation will likely deteriorate further, due to economic distress.


Our wetlands are wonderful and valuable resources. However Michigan government has not committed, nor can it afford to commit in the foreseeable future, the appropriate resources or oversight for MDEQ to appropriately and fairly administrate those programs. This problem dates back to well before the current fiscal crisis. Director Chester’s own remarks confirm that MDEQ simply cannot afford to allocate the appropriate resources to properly administer wetlands. Having the most-perfect wetland statute is absolutely meaningless if not properly administered.


Michigan and New Jersey are the only two states that administer their own wetlands programs, with Michigan being the only Great Lakes state to do so. All seven of the other Great Lakes states are under USEPA/USACE jurisdiction. Federal regulations work well for all other Great Lakes states and they should work equally well for Michigan. Our tax dollars have already paid the Feds to do what Michigan now pays again to have MDEQ do. This is an expense that Michigan can no longer afford.


Michigan’s wetland statute does go beyond federal law; however the major difference is regarding inland (“noncontiguous”) wetlands. Rather than sustaining MDEQ’s ineffective administration of wetland programs, Michigan should allow USEPA and USACE to administer the contiguous wetlands and also pass enabling legislation for local programs to administer noncontiguous wetlands that the federal law does not address. Such legislation, if well-written, would be cost-effective and responsive to local jurisdictional needs and conditions.


From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Dave Dempsey
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 7:54 AM
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: E-M:/ Free Press: keep wetlands protection in Michigan hands


Michigan cannot abandon its wetlands after three decades of fighting to protect them. The stakes are too high, not just because of the vital services that wetlands provide, but also because Michigan will be ceding any claim to leadership in the Great Lakes.


Express your personality in color! Preview and select themes for Hotmail®. See how.