Michigan's wetland protection program aims at preserving the State's wetlands from destruction and contamination in the interest of the health, safety, and general welfare of the people also mentioned under Article IV of Michigan's Natural Resources Public Trust Provision. The State is separate from the federal government which operates on a different level of control and regulations. Under the federal government, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates wetland programs in 48 states. Michigan and New Jersey are the two states which the Army Corps of Engineers do not control. There are several reasons to why people in Michigan do not want the federal government to take control of the State's wetlands while other people have reasons to favor it.
The people in support of federal government control are primarily businessmen as well as Governor Jennifer Granholm and Russ Harding, the former director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality who is currently the director of Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network. Granholm sided with federal control of Michigan's wetlands in her 2009 State of the State Address claiming that more staff exists to effectively safeguard Michigan's natural resources (Mackinac Center for Public Policy). Russ Harding has backed Granholm's speech by giving the following reasons for federal control:
* It will save the State money
* Bring in new investors
* The State's control of the program causes job losses and prevents the creation of new jobs
* There is no advantage to wetland permit applicants under the State's control
* The State has an inaccurate map of its wetlands that is not legally binding
* Level the playing field for Michigan businesses and property owners with the other 48 States
Those opposing federal control of Michigan's wetlands argue that the State's program reduces the need for duplicative state and federal permits and speeds up a permits processing time which are usually faster in the State compared to those passed in federal government. The State's program currently regulates 95.1% of Michigan's wetlands and covers issues that are not regulated by the federal government's program such as wetland drainage, excavation, and dredging. With 95.1% of Michigan's wetland regulated, state agencies are more familiar with local resources and community regulations. The State's vast control of its own wetlands allows other land and water management programs in Michigan to integrate with the State wetland program giving them the opportunity to review permit applications (SEIU Michigan State Council). Reasons to argue against the federal government taking control of the State's wetlands include:
* The need to obtain multiple permits from different agencies which will cost applicants more time and money
* Job losses
* Loss of wetland protection and preservation
* Delays on economic development projects due to jurisdictional affairs
* The need to develop a certification under EPA Section 401 (Certification and Wetlands) required by Federal government (Environmental Protection Agency).
Environmental Protection Agency. Section 401 Certification and Wetlands.
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
SEIU Michigan State Council. What's At Stake? http://seiuaction.org/campaign/wetlandsemplyee_clone/explanation