Environmentalists say a plan being considered by the state Senate would let big users pull enough water from rivers and streams to significantly reduce their flow rates.
The plan is being considered by a Senate committee. Competing bills are pending in the House. No votes have been taken.
A coalition of environmental groups says the Senate measures would allow major users to cut the flows of rivers such as the AuSable, Betsie and Jordan by 22 percent or more.
The bills' chief sponsor is Senator Patricia Birkholz of Saugatuck. She says the critics are grandstanding and overstating how much water would be taken from the rivers.
Birkholz says the bills are designed to protect natural resources and help the economy.