Negotiations are underway this summer to try and break an impasse over legislation that would make it easier for developers to build on sand dunes along the Great Lakes shoreline.
The legislation stalled just before the Legislature’s summer break. There were too many questions about the ramifications if Michigan were to relax its strict regulations against building on many sand dunes. Critics say the effects on the shoreline, tourism, and habitats for rare and threatened species would be profound.
James Clift, with the Michigan Environmental Council, says the Great Lakes sand dunes are an extremely rare natural resource.
“Not only rare in Michigan, but rare on the globe. Freshwater sand dunes just don’t exist that many places on the planet,” he says.
Governor Rick Snyder’s administration opposes the legislation. The governor did sign a law recently that allows Great Lakes property owners to use tillers and other machines to dig out weeds on the shoreline – as long as they get federal approval.