Sunday, June 19, 2011

Updated: Michigan legislature moving swiftly to limit local zoning authority on natural resource extraction

From the Michigan Township Association:

LANSING -- Legislation introduced on Wednesday, June 15, in both the Michigan House and Senate was already approved by a House committee and is likely to be voted on by the entire House next Tuesday, June 21. Township officials need to make contact immediately with legislators.

The bills are intended to reverse a significant Michigan Supreme Court decision (Kyser v. Kasson Twp.) rendered in July, 2010, related to local zoning authority over gravel operations. A joint meeting of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the House Natural Resources, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee was held on Thursday morning on SB 470, sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Fremont Twp.), and HB 4746, sponsored by Rep. Matt Huuki (R-Stanton Twp.), the latter of which was reported out of the House committee.*

The identical bills, while intending to reverse the Kasson Twp. case, go well beyond the issue of gravel mining and say that "an ordinance shall not prevent the extraction of valuable natural resources from any property unless very serious consequences would result from the extraction of those natural resources."

The Michigan Township Association (MTA) testified against the bills and notified members of both committees that the legislation would significantly weaken existing local zoning ordinances related to the extraction of any natural resource. The bills would render zoning regulations which prevent the extraction of natural resources in any zone invalid unless "very serious consequences" can be proved to result from the proposed extraction. MTA has learned that the House is intending to vote on HB 4746 on Tuesday, June 21.

MTA asks that you contact your state representative and state senator immediately to voice your strong opposition to this legislation.

Michigan House of Representative contact information link:

Michigan Senate contact information link:

To contact District 110 Rep. Matt Huuki directly, call 517-373-0850. Call State Sen. Tom Casperson at 517-373-7840. For District 109 State Rep. Steven Lindberg (D-Marquette), call (517) 373-0498.

You can contact the MTA Legislative Department, Michigan Townships Association, at 512 Westshire Drive, Lansing MI 48917; phone 517-321-6467; FAX: 517-321-8908;

*Editor's Note: See our April 25, 2011, article, "At Houghton Town Hall meeting local elected officials attack federal regulation of gas drilling, mining."

Update: See "Local Control Over Natural Resources - Web Update," posted on June 20, 2011, by Vince Hancock of Three Pines Gander.

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