NewsRoom
5:11 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

State Lawmakers Laying Groundwork For Emergency Harbor Dredging

Plans to pay for and facilitate emergency harbor dredging in the Great Lakes are moving through the state Legislature.

Credit WKAR File Photo

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher has more.

Both the state House and Senate approved separate sets of bills, with more to come in the next few weeks.

Legislation to open the state’s Natural Resources Trust Fund to pay for dredging also passed out of a Senate committee. Environmentalists say the fund should only be used for buying and improving state lands.

Nancy Krupiarz is with the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance. She says long-term harbor maintenance could completely drain the fund.

“I just, I don’t want to jeopardize the many trail projects that we have that are just wrapping up, really critical trail connections,”  she says.

Republicans say the state constitution leaves it up to lawmakers to interpret how the fund can be used.

Governor Rick Snyder says record-low water levels in the Great Lakes require more than 20 million dollars in dredging projects this year.