Michigan Governor Snyder Stands Up to Protect the Great Lakes

NWF applauds veto of bill that would undermine Great Lakes and Wildlife Protections

12-01-2011 // Jordan Lubetkin
Lake Superior

National Wildlife Federation today strongly supported Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s veto of HB 4326, a bill that would have weakened the ability of the Governor and the agencies he directs, like the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources, from creating rules that protect Michigan’s natural resources and our Great Lakes.

Governor Snyder has delivered an early holiday gift that is particularly meaningful for the Great Lakes.” said Andy Buchsbaum, Regional Executive Director with National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “His veto recognizes that the Great Lakes are special and need special protections, and that the federal ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t always work. His veto keeps the “great” in the Great Lakes state.”

Specifically, HB 4326 would have prohibited any Michigan government agency from adopting rules that are more stringent than existing applicable federal regulations unless explicitly directed to do so by the legislature. Currently, Michigan has stronger regulations that go beyond federal minimums in protecting the Great Lakes and Michigan’s natural resources. Just a few examples where Michigan has stronger protections than the federal government:

  • Restrictions on ballast water discharges of invasive species;
  • Protections of Michigan’s water in implementing the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact;
  • Phosphorus: Protections for the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland waters against phosphorus loading that lead to damaging algal blooms;
  • Protections for isolated wetlands that provide clean water, healthy wildlife habitat, and abundant hunting opportunities.

“Without the Governor’s veto, this bill would have thrown open the door to invasive species and algal blooms,” said Marc Smith, Senior Policy Manager with National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “Michigan’s rules on ballast water pollution and phosphorus discharges are specifically designed to protect the Great Lakes. The federal standards are not.”

For more information, visit www.nwf.org/greatlakes 

Get Our E-Newsletter 
Subscribe to National Wildlife Magazine!