Advance Notice: Briefs

Bipartisan lawmakers warn feds on ‘imminent threat’ of Great Lakes erosion

By: - November 5, 2019 4:43 pm

Sleeping Bear Dunes | Susan J. Demas

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland), co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force has led a bipartisan letter dated Friday to Commanding General of the Army Corps of Engineers Todd Semonite.

The letter from 10 of Michigan’s 14-member congressional delegation outlines the “imminent threat” Michigan residents who live near the Great Lakes face due to high water levels and erosion. The letter reinforces the need to streamline the permitting process at both the state and federal level to ensure property owners can implement safety measures to protect their homes and livelihood.

“With water levels in the Great Lakes at historic highs, residents across the state are facing imminent threats to property, infrastructure, and shorelines due to the resulting erosion. Many of our constituents are in critical need of installing shoreline protection projects to safeguard their homes and families,” the bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote. “As representatives of the Great Lakes State, we strongly request the USACE to proceed with all possible urgency as the Corps evaluates and reviews shore protection permits. Our communities are facing an imminent threat and we must all work together to provide expedited solutions.”

The Great Lakes have faced record levels this year, as the Advance has reported. Last month, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) released a 21-page report on the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes. Among the findings were that erratic and extreme lake level fluctuations will be the “new normal” for the Great Lakes, as climate change causes more frequent and more intense storms.

The other members of Congress to sign onto the letter are: U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet), Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.), John Moolenaar (R-Midland), Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), Tim Walberg (R-Tipton), Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.), Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden), Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield).

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.