Proposed legislation aimed at saving Michigan's wetlands protection program

Lansing, MI – A state senator is proposing legislation to spare Michigan's wetlands protection program from being eliminated to save money.

Sen. Patricia Birkholz (R-Saugatuck Township), who chairs the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee, tells The Associated Press she expects to introduce the measure Thursday.

Birkholz has been negotiating for months with the state Department of Environmental Quality and groups representing environmentalists and businesses in hopes of
sparing the program.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has proposed turning over regulation of Michigan's wetlands to the federal government, which would save the cash-strapped state $2.1 million a year.

Birkholz's plan would dip into a clean-water bond fund to continue the program at least a couple more years while making changes designed to improve its efficiency.