Legislative Waterways Caucus formed

Sen. Tom Casperson has joined with several of his colleagues to form the bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Waterways Caucus and will soon be introducing legislation aimed at enhancing enjoyment of Michigan waters.


Sens. Goeff Hansen and Jack Brandenburg will serve as Senate co-chairs of the caucus, which will be a forum for a variety of issues, such as invasive species, dredging, low lake levels, tourism and recreation.


“As co-chair of the Legislative Waterways Caucus, I look forward to working with my colleagues on issues affecting our most treasured natural jewel,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Michigan has an abundance of natural resources, and our waterways are a key part of the lifestyle, tourism industry and local economy of many Great Lakes coastal communities.”


State Reps. Al Pscholka and Charles Brunner are the caucus’s House co-chairs.


“With an abundance of waterways in the Upper Peninsula, I routinely hear from users who want to ensure the water resources remain accessible and protected from invasive species,” said Casperson. “Our local communities and economy depend upon healthy waterways for commerce, tourism and recreation.”


Casperson is also continuing his efforts from last term to ensure Michigan waterways remain navigable, and has now engaged the legislative caucus to join with him to implement strategies to that effect.


A few of the legislative changes being pursued by Casperson include:


·         Streamlining regulations for treating aquatic nuisance species;

·         Allowing the use of existing fund sources such as the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to be used for maintenance of waterways; and

·         Streamlining regulations that delay the maintenance of waterways, such as dredging.


The legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks and be referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes, chaired by Casperson.