Environmentalists are cautioning state lawmakers against legislation about tree and foliage removal. Bills making their way through the state Legislature would prevent local governments from passing ordinances prohibiting their removal in certain areas.
Environmental groups say cities and townships should be allowed to prevent people from cutting down some trees and vegetation in order to protect wildlife, water and the environment.
Sean Hammond is with the Michigan Environmental Council. He says he understands the concern about people’s property rights – but this isn’t the way to address the issue.
“If it even needs to be addressed, it definitely needs a scalpel. This is something local communities should undertake or we should have a potential workgroup kind of dig into this issue. This bill we equate more to a literal chainsaw,” he says.
But Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) says this is about letting people decide what to do with their property.
“Where does this stop? At what point do the local units of government stop demanding or taking through ordinances personal property rights?” he says.
Lawmakers say the legislation was inspired by brothers in Canton, Michigan. They were fined hundreds of thousands of dollars when they didn’t get a permit to cut down trees for a Christmas tree farm.
The legislation now moves on to the state House for consideration.