Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

June 27, 2012

Editorial: Snyder must halt effort to gut grooming law

It's up to Gov. Rick Snyder, again, to rein in the wild-eyed fringe of his own party, this time to help protect Great Lakes shoreline from the indiscriminate destruction of publicly owned coastal wetlands on private property.

This is the beach grooming battle of a few years ago; starting in 2003 some Michigan bayfront property owners began agitating for permission to mow down plants that had grown up along what had been sand beaches as Great Lakes water levels dropped.

The state said no and required property owners to apply for permits before mowing down shoreline vegetation.

In Grand Traverse County, an official with a East Bay motel was sent to jail for sending a bulldozer into the bay.

Now, Republican lawmakers are again pushing legislation which would allow mowing all vegetation on all Great Lakes shorelines, including certain coastal wetlands, without state oversight. The bill,

SB 1052, has sailed through the House and the Senate and is now on Snyder's desk.

The only hope now is that Snyder, who during his 2010 campaign for governor pledged to protect the environment, will veto the bill and maintain state oversight of beach grooming.

Under current state law, homeowners aren't prohibited from beach grooming but have to obtain a permit to do so. That's not much to ask; but some shoreline property owners and Republican lawmakers who want to essentially do away with state oversight want virtually no rules at all.

That's not right, and it's bad policy for the Great Lakes.

Gov. Snyder just needs to say no. Call or write to tell him that.

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