Capital News Service

of the Michigan State University School of Journalism

Boating permit changes await governor’s OK

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By MEHAK BANSIL
Capital News Service

LANSING—A bill awaiting Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s signature would change permit requirements for those who already own a dock, pier or other anchoring structure and those looking to build one in an inland lake or stream.

Under the measure, renewals would no longer be necessary to maintain and operate such facilities, but boaters who don’t already have a permit would still need one.

If a boater wants to build or add to a structure, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would have to analyze the project to ensure it wouldn’t disrupt natural resources.

Martin Jannereth, DEQ’s chief of lakes, streams and shorelands, said eliminating renewals probably won’t harm inland waters.

“We found there were a few changes over the years but not enough to make it worth all the staff time needed to maintain the program,” he said.

Jannereth said the DEQ’s main interest is to protect property owners’ rights and the ability of others to use lakes and streams for recreational purposes.

The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, a nonprofit group based in Petoskey, said the measure will protect natural resources.

“The significant budget cuts on the DEQ over the years have reduced their ability to protect those natural resources and maintain public trust,” said Jennifer McKay, policy specialist for the council.

“This will decrease the amount of money needed by the DEQ to maintain the marinas, but will still allow them to protect the bottomlands and sensitive areas of the lakes and streams,” she said.

The Michigan Boating Industries Association in Livonia also supported the bill.

Although it unanimously passed the Senate, Reps. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, voted against it.

© 2009, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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