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Legislation would allow residents to begin protecting against erosion before receiving state permit

Dave Garvin

New legislation would allow Michigan residents to use shoreline erosion protection before getting a state permit when lake levels are high.

The state has already begun expediting permits for shoreline erosion controls.

State officials say over just three months, Michigan saw 450 permits. That compares to roughly 850 permits during the entire last fiscal year.

But, according to Republican State Senator Roger Victory the state just can’t move quickly enough. He said his legislation would allow state-approved shoreline-control methods to be used before a permit is granted.

“That way it can expedite this and get the erosion control structures in place in a timely fashion, not after the fact,” he said.

Victory said the residents will still have to apply for a permit and notify the state of the proposed erosion controls.

“What we’re trying to do is not eliminate the permitting process,” he said. “This is a time of urgent need, a time we need to take action at a time of what I’d call a state of emergency.”

The legislation outlines specific lake levels above sea level before residents can start erosion control work without receiving a state permit.

On Lake Superior that level is 603.1 feet. On Lakes Michigan and Huron that level is 581.5 feet. Lake Erie has a required level of 573.8 feet and Lake St. Clair requires 576.7 feet.

Senator Victory’s legislation comes just a few days after the Army Corps of Engineers predicted that lake levels may continue to rise in 2020.

Officials with the state department of Environment Great Lakes and Energysay they’re reviewing the legislation and have not yet taken a position on it.