Legislator: New body would have better pulse on the region
State Rep. Greg Markkanen is spearheading new plans creating a Natural Resources Commission for the Upper Peninsula – as the current state commission continues to actively hinder the needs and challenges involving the region’s resources and recreation.
House Bills 6383-87 establish the separate panel’s authority and lay out rules for its operation. Other U.P. legislators have joined Markkanen in sponsoring proposals.
“Matters involving U.P. hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation regulations and other important natural resource issues should be led by U.P. voices and U.P. residents,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “We have seen a consistent pattern of decisions by the existing commission which don’t take U.P. voices or concerns into account. Many people in the U.P. feel this commission has failed them and is actively working against their interests. A more personalized panel will eliminate that element and deliver oversight that better reflects our residents while meeting their needs.”
The commission’s recent deer harvest reporting mandate is another example in a long list of instances where it has been out of touch with U.P. residents. The new order requires hunters to file online reports within 72 hours after taking a deer – including exact location, type of hunting device used, and other personal information. Failure to do so would constitute a misdemeanor offense.
Markkanen is supporting advancing legislation which states the Natural Resources Commission cannot require hunters to make such reports as bow season is set to begin Oct. 1. The second-term legislator said the order is impractical and overly burdensome – as many hunting areas do not have reliable internet access and enacting criminal penalties goes too far to encourage data collection. The plan, House Bill 6354, was approved in a vote by the Michigan House on Wednesday.
HBs 6383-87 have been referred to the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee for consideration.
“This is the best and safest option for Yoopers,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “There is no other realistic way to move natural gas without a pipeline. Trucking would be nearly impossible and would have a far greater negative impact. This is a common-sense solution that makes sense for everyone.”
“This project will bring jobs and an incredible investment to the Calumet community,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Anytime we can pair an investment in local business with an investment in our armed forces, it’s a win for Michigan.”
“Many U.P. residents want freedom to install their own solar and have energy independence when possible,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “But they also need reliable and affordable energy when the sun is not out and the wind is not blowing. They also do not want tens of thousands of acres of their communities forced into being solar panels.”
“Local control is essential in all aspects of government, especially in projects that could change the entire landscape of a community,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “The people who know best about our community were elected by our friends and neighbors to make those decisions. It’s vital that our voices don’t get drowned out by Lansing Democrats who want to make the U.P. into a parking lot full of windmills.”