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Michigan Senate: No permit to protect homes from high water

The legislation cleared the Republican-led chamber on a party-line 22-16 vote Thursday.

LANSING, Mich. — A split Michigan Senate has voted to let homeowners and others with property along the Great Lakes temporarily install structures to combat erosion from record-high water levels without needing a state permit. 

The legislation cleared the Republican-led chamber on a party-line 22-16 vote Thursday. It was sent to the GOP-controlled House for future consideration. 

The sponsor, Republican Sen. Roger Victory, told a Senate committee last week that people should be able to save their homes “without red tape.” The state began expediting permits last fall, but Victory says the process is too slow. 

Democrats and environmentalist oppose the bill. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was silent when it comes to a plan to help lakeshore property owners and municipalities deal with erosion during her State of the State address Wednesday evening. Whitmer said "record Great Lakes water levels and their impact on tourism, agriculture and infrastructure speak to the magnitude and the urgency of the challenge ahead."

Erosion's impact will turn into massive clean ups on public beaches up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline this spring -- including large logs and utility poles that have washed up and will require heavy machinery to remove. 

With tight budgets, the things municipalities and parks loose because of erosion might not be replaced without the state's help.

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