MUCC Statement on Land Cap Bill SigningJuly 3rd, 2012
MUCC: Land Cap Bill Follow-Through Expected
Group Receives Commitment From Gov. Snyder That Management Strategy Will Be Completed, Implemented and Cap Lifted
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2012
Contact: Erin McDonough (517) 775-9500
Kent Wood – (231) 883-4374
LANSING, MI — Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) today thanks Governor Rick Snyder for committing to lead the charge to lift the land cap once a strategic plan is in place. The Governor signed Senate Bill 248 — commonly referred to as the Land Cap Bill – with suggestions advocated by MUCC.
MUCC has been working vigorously over the course of the past year to change a short-sighted bill into a more complete public land policy that works to improve the management and enhance the value of Michigan’s natural resources. The organization was openly critical of the bill in the form in which it reached the Governor’s desk after passing the House earlier in June.
When first introduced, SB 248 attempted to tackle a very real issue — lack of a public land management strategy — with a simple arbitrary cap that, in reality, would have done nothing more than prevented the state of Michigan from acquiring any new public lands and quite possibly would have forced the sale of public lands.
MUCC and other groups stepped in and voiced great concerns over the initial package, resulting in a number of amendments that made the bill much more palatable. One of the most important changes to the original bill was the addition of language that would require the needed purchase and disposal strategy. Once this strategy was created, the cap would have been removed and the strategy implemented.
Unfortunately, last-minute amendments were inserted that would mandate that the cap remain in place for Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula unless the legislature passes an entirely new bill to approve the statewide public land acquisition and disposition strategy. Without legislative approval, the land strategy would not be put into place either. The cap will automatically lift from the southern part of the state whether approval takes place or not.
MUCC blasted the political wrangling that occurred in the final hours to strip the earlier changes that would have lifted the arbitrary cap once a public land purchase strategy was in place. The organization then sent a letter to the Governor asking him to ensure that the strategy was followed through with, or else veto the bill. Its members also followed up with letters and phone calls of their own.
“The current form of the bill and the politics behind it are an unacceptable way to manage the natural resources in our state,” said Erin McDonough, Executive Director of MUCC. “We have simply told the Governor that this bill does not solve the issues at hand, and if he is pressured to sign the bill, he should commit to ensuring the strategy for public land purchases and sales is carried out. This strategy is needed, and much time and effort will go into its creation. He should make a clear statement that politics will not be a factor in how our public land is managed.
“We appreciate Governor Snyder’s acknowledgement that the plan is the important piece of the legislation and his commitment calling upon the legislature to act swiftly to remove the cap once the plan is in place,” McDonough said. “We hope that the millions of Michiganders who appreciate and use Michigan’s public land have a strong advocate in Governor Snyder, and we look forward to working with him to ensure that Michigan’s public land and natural resources remain a priority in Michigan’s reinvention.”
To see the Governor’s letter concerning the signing of this bill, click here.
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Michigan United Conservation Clubs is largest statewide conservation organization in the nation. Through over 42,000 members and 260 affiliated clubs, MUCC works to accomplish its mission of Uniting Citizens to Conserve and Enhance Michigan’s Natural Resources and Protect OUR Outdoor Heritage.