Michigan State Senators Thomas Casperson (R), Patrick Colbeck, Arlan Meekhof (R) , Judith Emmons (R), and John Pappageorge (R) are seeking to rip the heart out of a successful Michigan Department of Natural Resources program that protects fragile land areas and Michigan’s rich wildlife diversity. Senate bill 1276 was introduced into committee this past week and is expected to be up for a vote in October.
If passed the bill would do the following:
· Prevent the DNR from restoring harvested forested land to its original state. Potentially clear cut land would remain without standing timber.
· Place an economic value on land under its control. Perhaps for valuation for possible sale in the future.
· Eliminate the scientific term “natural biological diversity” from the definition of “conservation.”
· Eliminate a scientific term “unusual flora and fauna” in the definition of “natural area.”
· Place Michigan’s public land under oversight of the legislators and not the DNR.
This bill would be a catastrophic gutting of one Michigan’s most successful state agencies; the Department of Natural Resourses (DNR) . It would turn public land use into a political ping pong match between a free for all and total lock down as political fortunes swing from Republican to Democrat. The bill’s author Tom Casperson feels that the DNRs professional team of naturalists, scientists and botanists that have been in operation since 1921 are now too stupid to manage public land that has the economic potential to be turned into 4×4 off-road playground version of Cedar Point.
Thumbwind agrees with University of Michigan Professor Emeritus Burt Barnes of the School of Natural Resources and Environment. Dr. Barnes calls the bill “lacking in common sense, ecological literacy, and vision; it is divisive, counterproductive, mean-spirited; couldn’t be worse.”
To paraphrase a quote from Winston Churchill, “this bill needs to be strangled in the cradle”. Casperson can be sent an email at this link.
- Land cap author Casperson wants nonprofit land conservancies to pay property taxes (mlive.com)
- DNR’s prominence, legislative bill-paying cause angst in Northern Michigan (mlive.com)
- How much public land should Michigan own? (mlive.com)