As water levels along the Lake Michigan shoreline continue to rise, state Rep. Brad Paquette this week joined a bipartisan group of Michigan legislators in sending a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asking for a state of emergency declaration.
The desired declaration would cover the entire shoreline of Lake Michigan in response to erosion from near-record high water levels. Communities along the lake have experienced significant damage to both public and private property.
“Tremendous damage has been done not only in my community, but along the entirety of the Lake Michigan shoreline,” said Paquette of Niles. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in the fight to address this devastation by allowing the impacted areas to qualify for additional financial help.”
Joining Paquette in signing the letter were Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield of Levering and state Reps. Triston Cole of Mancelona, Beth Griffin of Mattawan, Jim Lilly of Park Township, Jack O’Malley of Lake Ann, Terry Sabo of Muskegon, Bradley Slagh of Zeeland, Scott VanSingel of Grant, Greg VanWoerkom of Norton Shores, Pauline Wendzel of Watervliet and Mary Whiteford of Allegan.
By issuing a state of emergency, the governor would be able to designate more resources to respond to the erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline. A state of emergency declaration would also allow the state to petition the federal government to do the same, activating additional resources to assist impacted communities and property owners.
The letter mentions how the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has been helpful in speeding up the permitting process and reducing regulatory hurdles to address potential future impacts, but outlined that much of the damage has already been done – leaving residents and business owners to pick up the pieces.