LANSING (AP) – The Michigan Senate has passed a bill to abolish a state program that regulates maintenance of beaches by property owners along the state’s Great Lakes shorelines.

The measure approved Wednesday would end a five-year permitting program run by the Department of Environmental Quality.

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Landowners still would need a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has similar regulations.
The bill now moves to the House.

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Lower water levels have caused vegetation to sprout up on former bottomlands. Many landowners say it’s unsightly, while environmental activists say it provides valuable spawning habitat for fish.

Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba says his bill would make it easier for people to clean their beaches. Opponents fear it would allow destruction of valuable wetlands.

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