Snyder signs wetland protection bill

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today signed Senate Bill 163, sponsored by state
Sen. Mike Green, to clarify permitting requirements in Michigan's wetlands
protection law.

Wetlands are critical natural features, filtering and recharging ground and surface
water. They are recognized as key to maintaining water quality, and wetlands support
diverse ecological populations.

"Michigan is best served when people right here in Michigan make decisions regarding
our resources," Snyder said. "We committed early in this administration to keep the
state wetlands program. That requires us to make changes to address the federal
audit, and ensure we provide clarity and workable, protective solutions for all
kinds of Michiganders who interact with wetlands - be they farmers, utilities, local
road managers or homeowners."

The federal Clean Water Act was amended in 1977 to allow states to establish their
own wetland management programs, and in 1984 Michigan became one of only two states
to manage its own wetlands.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008 issued an audit of Michigan's
program, citing numerous areas where the state was inconsistent with federal law. A
Wetlands Advisory Council was established in 2009 to review the state program and
recommend changes. The council issued its recommendations in 2012, creating the
foundation for a series of changes included in SB 163.

SB 163 is now Public Act 98 of 2013.

Snyder also signed Senate Bills 175, 79 and 27.

SB 175, sponsored by state Sen. John Pappageorge, provides retirement benefits for
the Michigan National Guard adjutant general and the assistant adjutant generals for
the Army and Air. Military policy requires 20 years of active service and an
honorable discharge in order to receive the benefits. Any retirement pay received
from the federal government for military service will be deducted when figuring the
amount received from the state. The new law will improve the Guard's ability to
attract quality talent for leadership positions. It is now PA 99.

SB 79, sponsored by state Sen. Goeff Hansen, authorizes the state Liquor Control
Commission to issue a special permit that allows small wine makers to hold tastings
and sell wine at farmers markets. It is now PA 100.

SB 27, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, allows licensed merchants to fill
and sell growlers with beer for off-premises consumption under certain conditions.
It is now PA 101.

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