Environmentalist, business leader react to proposal scaling back wetlands protection
A bill sponsored by State Senator Tom Casperson would remove protections from some Michigan’s wetlands, inland lakes, and streams. In a recent letter, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Trout Unlimited, and the National Wildlife Federation outlined their opposition to the proposed legislation.
Stateside's Lester Graham talked to a business leader who supports the bill, as well as an enviornmentalist who opposes it.
Charles Owens is the state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses in Michigan, and he supports the Casperson bill. He says the current definitition of a wetland is far too broad.
"If it's just a low spot in someone's yard that collects water every now and then, I think it's a little bit of overreach for them to apply all of these rules and regulations to a poor property owner that just wants to make some improvements on their land," Owens said.
Tom Zimnicki opposes the legislation. Zimnicki is the Agriculture Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council. He says the wetlands on private property can have a major impact on public lands.
"The benefits that wetlands afford us are immense. And they don't just affect private property or one individual property, but things again like flood protection, like tourism, like hunting and fishing," Zimnicki explained.
Listen above to hear the more from Owens and Zimnicki on what the bill means for individuals and the state at large.