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Wetlands, lakes would lose protections under Michigan bill

Project Clarity Holland Wetlands

Michigan legislators are poised to remove protections for many of the state's wetlands, inland lakes and streams.

A House committee Tuesday approved a bill that would drop permitting requirements for developing about 550,000 acres of wetlands and 4,200 of the state's 11,000 lakes.

A House floor vote is expected Wednesday. The Senate has approved a similar version.

Wetlands serve crucial ecological functions. They store floodwaters, remove pollutants and provide habitat for many birds and wildlife.

But business and farm groups say the state's wetland protection law should be changed to stop overzealous regulators from bullying landowners who want to develop small wetlands.

The bill also would link Michigan's wetland protection law to a federal policy that the Trump administration is trying to weaken.