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Lawmakers urge Whitmer to declare lakeshore erosion a state emergency

A group of lawmakers sent a letter to the governor, urging her to declare a state of emergency for the Lake Michigan shoreline following near-record water levels.

LANSING, Mich. — Following severe weather, winds, and fall storms -- the Lake Michigan shoreline has taken a beating and now, a group of lawmakers want the state to get involved. 

A group of Michigan lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Thursday, urging her to declare a state of emergency for the shoreline because of near-record high water levels. 

The letter seeks a statewide response, lead by Rep. Bradley Slagh of Zeeland and underscores the erosion that has recently plague lakeshore communities and damaging private and public property. 

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“What we’re witnessing along the lakeshore has been truly heartbreaking,” Slagh said. “Homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed by the effects of wind and water. Even state parks and local roadways have been tremendously impacted by the brunt of rising water levels of Lake Michigan.”

Joining Slagh 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, Brad Paquette of Niles, Terry Sabo of Muskegon, Scott VanSingel of Grant, Greg VanWoerkom of Norton Shores, Pauline Wendzel of Watervliet and Mary Whiteford of Allegan.

"This is a pretty major situation we have going on when it comes to the erosion and all the things that are happening with the flooding and it's not going away anytime soon," Sabo said.

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 also would allow the state to petition the federal government to do the same, activating additional resources to assist impacted communities and property owners.

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