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Posted on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

Rick Snyder earns praise for backing $100 million proposal to fund conservation projects

By Ryan J. Stanton

The praise for Gov. Rick Snyder's State of the State address continues to roll in, with the latest feedback coming from an Ann Arbor-based environmental group.

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters said in a statement this afternoon that Snyder laid out a "largely positive vision for Michigan's natural resources and environment."

In addition to his support of $25 million to continue funding the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, Snyder said Wednesday night he's in favor of a $100 million proposal by the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board to fund 117 conservation projects.

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Rick Snyder delivers his speech Wednesday night from the House floor.

Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

"These projects will positively impact every corner of our state, from Iron County in the Upper Peninsula, to Traverse City, to Luna Pier in Monroe County," Snyder said. "Also included is a significant expansion of the William G. Milliken Park on the Detroit riverfront."

The LCV called that "very welcoming news."

"The upcoming budget the governor promised to deliver will be full of painful decisions, but his commitment to preserving the integrity of programs such as these sends a signal that a healthy environment is essential for a healthy economy in Michigan," the group stated.

The LCV offered some criticism, though, saying Snyder's reliance on the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program is "not enough to guarantee sufficient enforcement of the essential safeguards on land and water quality." The group agreed agriculture is a pillar of Michigan's economy, but said that's all the more reason for strong enforcement.

Snyder's speech earned high marks from several other groups, including Business Leaders for Michigan, a roundtable organization that includes the chairpersons, chief executives or most senior executives of Michigan's largest companies and universities.

The group is pleased Snyder has made improving Michigan’s competitiveness for jobs his top priority, said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO.

"We especially applaud his plans for reforming business taxes, improving government collaboration and refocusing the state’s economic development priorities," Rothwell said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the Snyder administration and the Legislature to make Michigan a 'top ten' state for jobs and economic growth.”

While Snyder talked in more detail than usual Wednesday night, he has been criticized for offering little in the way of how he plans to pay for the projects he outlined while staring at a state budget deficit of at least $1.8 billion. He also failed to offer any more detail about his proposal to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, which could nearly double the deficit.

Also missing from Snyder's speech was any mention of high-speed rail from Detroit to Chicago, a major initiative that has federal funds behind it but still needs state matching funds.

Snyder told AnnArbor.com last week he's still making up his mind on the viability of high-speed rail as an option for Michigan.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at ryanstanton@annarbor.com or 734-623-2529.

Comments

JMA2Y

Sat, Jan 22, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

Regarding his pledge to get rid of the individual pricing law-if it must go then fine. But don't argue that it will save money for consumers. Tell me how it will save us money. Will businesses lower their prices? No. And don't think that businesses will take the money they save from pricing items and use it to create more jobs. Think about it-if a store needs five workers to price items but they no longer need to price items, that's five people who are no longer needed. And even if the current staff can find work to do in the store, that's five jobs that won't need to be replaced when those five people leave because technology will be doing their job. Let's not praise businesses and tout savings for consumers when discussing getting rid of the pricing law. Let's be honest with why we should be rid of it and not lie about it.

Rork Kuick

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

You folks realize that the funds used by Natural Resources Trust Fund Board are obtained and protected by our state constitution. I give the governor just about zero credit for this one. I'll wait a bit longer. "He also failed to offer any more detail about his proposal to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, which could nearly double the deficit" Tell us more about that please. The applause made it hard to hear what he was saying at that point in his speech, but I don't think he mentioned that even being a problem.

denise1inaa

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

I do not agree with Snyder on all issues and did not vote for him. But I am very pleased with his attention and commitment to Michigan's environment. It is a refreshing surprise coming from a republican.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

1. Most of these dream/wishes are not going to service the Republican House and Senate Budget process. LVC are naive and a bit early with their praise to think otherwise. 2. "The LCV offered some criticism, though, saying Snyder's reliance on the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program is "not enough to guarantee sufficient enforcement of the essential safeguards on land and water quality."" Yes, Corporate Farms are going to given free rein and operations in rural areas of Lenawee County are going to ramp up their environmental terrorism as soon as the ink is dry on the new regulations. Sure wish we could have heard a bit more about this with our local political (rolling on the floor laughing) coverage during the campaign. But our media wasn't quite able to ask those kinds of questions, what with the daily articles on SPARK and all. 3. Sounds like LCV is gutless and will be a silent lapdog for the next four years, begging for crumbs.

Marshall Applewhite

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

"Sounds like LCV is gutless and will be a silent lapdog for the next four years, begging for crumbs." With all the other budgetary issues facing this state, should they really expect to be anything more?

Apollo XIII

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

Hope the Governor will keep a sharp eye out for conservation opportunities in his home township "Superior", where the groundwork has been laid by over 20 years of citizen and township commitment to keep a patch of green between Detroit and Ann Arbor. A good start would be the 300 acres owned by Rock Construction which proposes to build a 1,600 unit mobile home park on Geddes Road smack in the middle of fertile soils, wetlands, forests and ponds. The Governor should direct the state to coordinate efforts with Superior Township and the Washtenaw County Parks to preserve this key parcel. Such an effort will prove he's a Governor for the common person and the common welfare as much as he is for business.

Tom

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.

Everything he's said sounds great right now because he hasn't addressed the massive cuts that need to be made due to the $1.8 Billion deficit and now he wants to nearly double it with the elimination of the MBT. I don't think everyone will have such a rosy view of him once the tougher decisions need to be made.

John Q

Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

Who's opposed to those projects? It's a no-brainer and all it takes is for the Legislature to approve the funding. Get with it!