Lansing, MI – Environmentalists are celebrating Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s veto of SB 78 today, a bill which would have prohibited the state Department of Natural Resources from designating biodiversity areas and would remove biodiversity from the list of state forest management goals.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), who claimed that it was necessary because current law could allow the DNR to limit public access to land that could otherwise be used for recreation, tourism or economic activity. According to WeAreThePeople, Senator Casperson has been identified as a member or ally of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
However environmental groups claimed that the biodiversity authority of the DNR does not limit public access and the bill would have jeopardized conservation efforts to protect species and ecosystems in the state.
Aimee Cree Dunn, a Green Party – MI State Central Committee member and an instructor of Native and environmental history at Northern Michigan University called supporters of the bill as “who are either ignorant of what it takes to maintain the land’s health, or are working for corporate interests against the best interests of the people.”
In a letter to the Michigan Senate, Snyder said, “re-definition of the conservation of biological diversity and the complete elimination of designation options — causes confusion and inconsistencies and could make it more difficult to sustainably manage Michigan’s Public forests and world class natural resources to meet the changing needs of current and future generations.”
The Michigan League of Conservation Voters called Governor Snyder’s decision to veto the anti-biodiversity bill today an important victory for Michigan’s natural resources.
Snyder asked the legislature to work with the Michigan DNR to “foster regional economic prosperity while protecting our natural and cultural resources for the current and future citizens of Michigan.”