FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Leigh Fifelski
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 (517) 999-3646
Citizens Groups Urge Legislature to Protect Wetlands, Keep Them in State’s Hands
Shifting oversight to Corps puts water, local economies at risk
LANSING – Citizens groups today will urge the Michigan Legislature to safeguard Michigan’s wetlands protection program and stand up for local economies by keeping wetlands in the state’s hands, not shift its oversight to an ill-equipped Army Corps of Engineers.
“Healthy wetlands are vital to Michigan’s future, environmentally and economically, and that’s why we must make sure that Michigan continues to have full control over these precious natural resources,” Cyndi Roper, Michigan State Director of Clean Water Action said. “Our wetlands and Great Lakes define who we are in Michigan. Surrendering control of our wetlands will put our entire state at risk, and that’s why we urge the Legislature to protect them by keeping them in the hands of Michigan agencies that know them best.”
A coalition of groups, including Clean Water Action, SEIU, Michigan Environmental Council, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and others today will call on the Legislature to keep the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in charge of wetlands permitting and other issues. Gov. Jennifer Granholm recently suggested that the state’s wetlands protection program be transferred from the MDEQ to the Army Corps of Engineer. The dangers of such a move include:
“This proposal will jeopardize our water resources and create permitting delays that will put a further burden on Michigan’s economy and our working families,” Cynthia Paul, SEIU State Council legislative director said. “Keeping the wetlands protection program in the hands of the state now will help save us money down the road and ensure Michigan can protect our natural resources and local communities.”
The citizens groups spoke as the House Great Lakes and Environment, and Appropriations, Subcommittee on Environmental Quality committees held a joint hearing on the wetlands protection program.