For the second time in recent years, the Michigan Legislature is rewriting environmental laws in ways that critics say would make it easier to develop sensitive wetlands. Business interests say the changes would provide adequate protections while boosting the economy.
The state Senate approved a bill this week that would make numerous changes in laws dealing with wetlands such as swamps and marshes, which absorb floodwaters and perform other vital tasks.
The measure would create new permit exemptions for some farming activities and allow more flexibility for developers who are required to create new wetlands to make up for those they damage.
It's supported by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Farm Bureau and other business groups but opposed by environmentalists.
The bill now goes to the House.