GOP-led Michigan Senate votes to deregulate wetlands

Near Craig Lake State Park, Baraga Co. Photo courtesy: Michigan DNR; Wetlands, like this area near Craig Lake State Park in Baraga County, play a key role in the health of Michigan’s environment.
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate has approved hotly contested legislation that would ease landowners' ability to fill in or build on wetlands.

The bill, which won passage 23-14 along mostly party lines Tuesday, next goes to the GOP-led House.

The sponsor, Republican Sen. Tom Casperson, says he is trying to curb regulators who abuse their discretion to block landowners from filling in wetlands, removing soil or taking other actions.

Environmental groups still oppose the legislation despite some changes being made to it.

They say some 4,000 inland lakes would be unregulated or not protected under the bill.