Patrick Sullivan proves here that there’s always ONE side to every story (re: “Upland Forest or Forested Wetlands?” 5/28/12). Actually, if you read through the sensationalism you see that there isn’t even a story here at all.
While the subtitle reads: “Environmentalist alleges Antrim County official looked the other way as wetlands were destroyed,” buried near the end we find this quote from the DEQ: “It is true that soil erosion officers don’t have any authority over wetlands, he said. It is up to the DEQ to issue Part 303 permits that allow the destruction of wetlands.”
So Heidi Shaffer (Antrim County soil erosion officer) did her job and is being persecuted because an environmentalist feels threatened and a couple from downstate has to share their “little piece of Northern Michigan” lakefront with a neighboring land owner? Shameful.
As a property owner in Antrim County, I’m glad to see our local government placing an emphasis on responsible development while also respecting the rights of land owners.
The Holts had their property professionally evaluated and followed the permitting procedure, Shaffer did her job to its legal limit on behalf of the county, and the DEQ was made aware of everything. It sounds like the only people in violation are the ones sticking their noses in (and trespassing) where they don’t belong.
And, of course, anyone who thinks this is a story worth getting excited about in the first place...
The real story? The DEQ (and the Army Corps Of Engineers), after weeks of investigation and testing, just determined that the developed area of the property is NOT a wetland. Oops.
Erik J. Davidek • Outreach & Development Director • Antrim Conservation District
Stop the ferry wars Remember the Mackinac Island ferry “controversy” of a couple of years ago? Legislation has been introduced to prevent another “ferry war” from happening.
Senate Bill 1150 will “level the ferry regulatory playing field” for Michigan municipalities, taking away Mackinac Island’s “special regulatory powers.”
Senate Bill 1151 clearly makes the Michigan Public Service Commission the ultimate regulatory authority of ferry services in Michigan. No longer will any municipality be free to abuse its regulatory powers by:
1.) Conveying the impression it’s considering terminating the life of one of its ferry services without reason, forcing the ferry service to unnecessarily commit resources to fight for its life.
2.) Showing reckless disregard for its franchise fee’s consequences to its ferry licensees.
3.) Using a franchise fee as a “head tax” on visitors to that municipality. I don’t believe municipalities are allowed to “charge admission” to themselves.
4.) Risking Michigan citizens’ access to one of their state parks. Please ask your legislators to support this legislation.
Stopping the invaders Invasive species are the greatest threat to the Great Lakes. As a leading import market, the US receives hundreds of millions of live non-native animals each year.
Invasive species are a persistent and costly thorn in the side of the American taxpayer. To stop the spread of just one of these invasive species – Asian carp – into the Great Lakes, federal, state, and local governments have spent approximately $204 million from 1998-2011.
In Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 alone, the federal budget allocated approximately $120 million to control the Asian carp. These costs could have been avoided if authorities had considered their risks beforehand and restricted their importation.
Under the current 112-year-old law that regulates these imports, it takes an average of four years for the federal government to stop the import of harmful and invasive species.
To address this problem, the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act of 2012 (HR 5864) was recently introduced. This legislation strengthens the ability of federal regulators to make rapid, science-based decisions on whether non-native fish or wildlife species pose a risk to ecosystems within the U.S. and cause economic damage or threaten public health. It will stop the influx of damaging invasive species, while still allowing trade in the vast majority of non-native animals that pose no risk of invasiveness or threat to the health of humans or wildlife.
We must take steps now to prevent the next Asian carp, Burmese python, northern snakehead, or red lionfish crisis. These destructive invaders will continue to come into our country via globalized trade until Congress steps in to make a difference.
Jennifer McKay, Policy Specialist Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
• There was a spelling error in last week's article on iris farming. The term “zeroscaping” is not correct; the proper word for landscaping for dry climates is “xeriscaping.” The word was developed by the Denver Water Board in the early 1980s. The prefix “xer” is from the Greek meaning “dry.”
• In a recent Spectator column, it should be noted that the Simpson- Bowles Commission did not make any recommendations to the President. The two heads of the commission made recommendations without the commission's approval.
Daniel M. Robbins • Mackinaw City