It has come to our attention that the new Senate Bill 1130 could mean environmental disaster on the lakeshore. The bill was introduced by Arlan Meekhof of West Olive. It would drastically reduce protective measures in Critical Dune areas. It would also prohibit the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from requiring an assessment of the impacts to be included in a developer’s application except for “a special use project.” The term special use project is not defined. If this bill is introduced, the DEQ has significantly less time to decide weather a development application is in the best interest of the environment. The committee addressed public outcry by promising to protect private property. In an email, Meekhof said the bill would
(i) Ensure and enhance the diversity, quality, functions, and values of the critical dunes in a manner that is compatible with private property rights. (ii) ensure sound management of all critical dunes by allowing for compatible economic development and multiple human uses of the critical dunes. (iii) coordinate and streamline governmental decision-making affecting critical dunes through the use of the most comprehensive, accurate, and reliable information and scientific data available.
Representative Meekhof speaks from both sides of his mouth. Economic development and human use have historically hurt vulnerable environments, not provided sound management. Based on scientific research done by the U.S. National Park Service, Michigan’s coast is at very high risk of change, and that was under regulation.
The bill would hinder the DEQ’s ability to thoroughly assess the situation, disabling “reliable information and scientific data.” This legislature will hinder the DEQ from assessing environmental impacts. As we’ve seen the mineral rights of our state land auctioned off to natural gas companies, it’s frightening how this focus on public property rights could affect our great state.
A big thing to remember- we’ve seen the mineral rights to public land auctioned off this year. Sand is required for the slurry in horizontal hydraulic fracturing. if this legislation passes, it may enable the sand rights public beaches and sensitive dune areas to be auctioned off to the same companies that are buying the mineral rights to our state.
Governor Snyder has until August 15th to sign this bill into law. Contact him today to share your concerns and discourage him from signing it into law. Call the Governor at (517) 373-3400, or print this post card off and mail this to