Water advocate Jen Schlicht weighed in on interpretation of 1211, should it be signed into law. “As I understand it, the bill [SB 1211] allows wetlands over 5 acres to retain their protection even if they are not connected to another body of water. So while the revisions to 1211 are a lot better than what was initially proposed, any loss of protections to our wetlands is cause for alarm.”
“The cumulative effect from the small wetlands that have now lost their protections is still significant, especially as areas that have lost most of their historic wetlands are the same areas likely to have those sub-five acre wetlands,” explained Schlicht. “So at a time when due to climate change and development we are already seeing more severe and frequent heavy rain flood events, losing more wetlands is not ideal.”
The earlier version of SB 1211 that passed the Michigan Senate on December 4 would have left 500,000 acres of Michigan wetlands and 4,500 inland lakes without environmental protections, exposing wetlands to risk of filling, draining, or dredging without requirements for permits or approval.
Unresolved conservation and water safety crises in the state—including Line 5, PFAS, Nestle, and Flint’s lead-contaminated drinking water—have remained at the forefront of Michigan’s 2018 election cycle and lame duck session.