Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lahti fights for funds to re-open campgrounds, protect natural resources

LANSING -- State Representative Mike Lahti (D-Hancock) on Wednesday voted to protect funding for Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE) 2010-2011 budget, a move that will reopen more than a dozen state campgrounds and protect our state's vital natural resources.

"Making these changes in the DNRE budget is important to protecting our land, air and water and the jobs of our workers who depend on them," said Lahti, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on DNRE, who led the vote in the House. "People come from all over to fish in our streams, camp in our forests and take in the beauty of our natural resources. We must protect the attractions that draw tourists to our state. That's why I fought so hard to reopen the state campgrounds that were closed during last year's budget cuts. Our natural resources define us as a state -- we must do everything we can to ensure they will be around for generations to come."

The budget that passed the House on Wednesday will reopen 12 state campgrounds, which closed due to budget cuts in 2009; require the DNRE director to meet semiannually with timber representatives to discuss strategic issues of the timber industry; establish and expand Citizen Advisory Councils; prohibit the DNRE from charging children under 18 admission fees to enter the State Historical Museum; and fund the Cormorant Population Control and Aquatic Nuisance Control programs.

The DNRE budget now moves to Conference Committee where Lahti will work with fellow legislators to finalize it according to House and Senate recommendations.

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