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Posts from the ‘conservation’ Category

Biodiversity: Key to healthy forests, yet target of terrible proposed law

A proposal in Michigan’s legislature (SB 78) would needlessly undercut longstanding and important protections that are helping restore Michigan’s natural resources and safeguard the genetic diversity of plants and animals managed on state lands.

MEC opposes this ill-advised legislation, and has provided the following testimony to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

We’ve asked supporters to call or email the bill’s sponsors and let them know you support managing state lands for biodiversity. Please consider joining the effort!

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 Sponsor, Senator Tom Casperson: Call: 517-373-7840, Email: SenTCasperson@senate.michigan.gov:

Other bill sponsors:

Patrick Colbeck: 517-373-7350, SenPColbeck@senate.michigan.gov
Arlan Meekhof: 517-373-6920, SenAMeekhof@senate.michigan.gov
David Robertson: 517-373-1636, SenDRobertson@senate.michigan.gov
Michael Green: 517-373-1777, SenMGreen@senate.michigan.gov
Darwin Booher: 517-373-1725, SenDBooher@senate.michigan.gov
Howard Walker: 517-373-2413 SenHWalker@senate.michigan.gov

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Comments on Senate Bill 78 – Michigan Environmental Council Opposes

 What Is Senate Bill 78?

SB 78 would amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Act 451 of 1994). Specifically, the bill would amend PART 355 (Biological Diversity Conservation) and Part 525 (Sustainable Forestry on State Forestlands) to do the following:

  • Revise the definition of “conservation” with regard to biological diversity, removing key provisions regarding restoration, distribution and the “continued existence” of native species and communities.
  •  Prohibit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Commission from promulgating or enforcing a rule or an order that designates or classifies an area of land specifically for the purpose of achieving or maintaining biological diversity, and provide that no other state agency would be required to do so either.
  • Delete the conservation of biological diversity from the DNR’s duties regarding forest management, and require the Department to balance its management activities with economic values.
  • Eliminate a requirement that the DNR manage forests in a manner that promotes restoration.
  • Delete a legislative finding that most losses of biological diversity are the result of human activity.

The bill also would repeal several sections pertaining to the Joint Legislative Working Committee on Biological Diversity (which was dissolved on December 30, 1995).

Read more

Michigan parks and the power of place: More than mere amenities

The Lansing State Journal ran a nice article yesterday (“Snyder weighs big changes for Michigan’s parks”) about the recommendations of the Michigan State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Blue Ribbon Panel.

During my year of work on that panel, one challenge really stood out: Michiganders, even those dedicated to outdoor issues, think of our parks and forests and beaches and rivers as amenities. They’re nice to have, but don’t rate as high as jobs or potholes on anyone’s list of top-tier issues.

That view is outdated, though. The world has shifted.

Read more

Don’t Fence Me In

Limiting Public Land Jeopardizes Michigan’s Character

Nobody’s going to confuse it with Chicago or Denver, but Lansing is an honest-to-God city, albeit mid-sized.  We’ve got a decent food scene, a solid bus system, skyscrapers—even our own professional ball club.

It’s a great place to work.  But like Melville’s Ishmael when he was away from the sea awhile, if I’m too long in town without at least a brief escape to the woods, “it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off.”

Luckily, a couple of years ago I discovered a secret spot on a little trout creek about an hour southwest of my home in East Lansing.  (I’m not divulging details.  Unless you buy me a Two Hearted Ale—then I’ll tell you exactly where it is.) Read more

Today’s impromptu effort to change a little bitty corner of the world

Dear Dean Transportation:

Today (May 8th) there are about one-dozen Dean charter buses parked on Pere Marquette Street in Lansing (possibly related to Mitt Romney’s Lansing speech?) These buses have been idling for more than an hour with no occupants. It seems a tremendous waste of fuel, an unnecessary release of pollutants, and increases in carbon monoxide and other unhealthy byproducts that drift into the businesses, offices (mine included) and pedestrians along the street.

If Dean has no idling policy, it might be a worthwhile endeavor — both from a business/cost perspective and a good neighbor perspective.

Thank you for your time

Hugh McDiarmid Jr.

(We’ll share any response from Dean in a future update. As an aside, many other states have idling laws. Michigan does not.)

A Sensational Moon Rising Over Michigan: How to Make the Most of This Weekend

Super Moon

Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars

-Frank Sinatra

In other words, it’s almost the weekend and it’s springtime. So you need a fantastic Saturday plan. Well, what could be better than a Pure Michigan enviro-chic date night watching the ‘super moon’ rise?

This nature-rich date idea will score high points for originality, romantic quality, cost effectiveness and sustainability levels (which is important, because women are more attracted to green behavior).

The moon Saturday is not just a full moon; it’s a ‘super moon’.  It will be slightly closer to earth than normal from our perspective, so it will appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual. And this ‘super moon’ is going to be the best in the last 18 years. Read more