Booher works with Midwest state leaders on key natural resources issues

LANSING—Two natural resources policy resolutions sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher were adopted this week at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments held in Omaha.

“I was honored to represent Michigan at the Midwestern Legislative Conference and proud that we were able to find agreement on two issues important to Northern Michigan and our entire region,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Both resolutions adopted this week are about protecting states’ rights, our economy and the rights of private land owners.”

The first of Booher’s resolutions adopted at the conference concerned a proposed rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

“In response to multiple U.S. Supreme Court decisions saying that the EPA and Army Corps over-stepped their authority, these agencies are again trying to expand environmental regulations – in clear disregard of private property rights and the law,” Booher said. “The Michigan Senate has already called on the proposed new rules to be withdrawn and now Midwestern lawmakers have encouraged the federal government to slow down and work with state governments before implementing this change.

“This is critical to Michigan jobs and agriculture industry. According to the EPA itself, these rules could lead to 1,400 more required permits and cost farmers and businesses nearly $279 million.”

Booher’s second resolution encourages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reconsider current voluntary provisions rather than listing the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.

“Michigan’s forests add to our excellent quality of life and help support millions of workers in our vibrant tourism and timber industries,” Booher said. “Listing this bat as endangered threatens our economy, yet the Fish and Wildlife Service cannot even determine the bat’s critical habitat or provide any evidence that forest management activities have any impact on the bats.”

The resolution urges the FWS to work with the states on conservation measures and focus resources on efforts to deal with the cause of the bat population decline, such as addressing white-nose syndrome that has killed millions of bats in the northeastern U.S.

The Council of State Governments is a regionally based, nonpartisan association of state officials that promotes excellence in state government through the exchange of insights and ideas that help shape effective public policy. The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.