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Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:55

Michigan legislators pass harbor dredging bills

(AREA) -- The Republican-led Michigan House and Senate have approved a series of bills designed to aid the state's water-starved harbors. The bills passed Thursday would lower fees for some dredging projects and let emergency projects bypass a waiting period. Dredging is the removal of sediments so water is deep enough for boats and barges. The House passed a bill to let the Department of Environmental Quality issue emergency permits when property or residents' safety is at risk. Currently, permits can't be issued until after a 20-day objection period. Another bill would reduce some dredging permit fees from $1,500 to $50. A bill approved in the Senate would let marinas pay low interest rates for loans for emergency dredging projects. Each bill now goes to the other chamber for consideration.