The Michigan Legislature went on summer recess before taking up Senate Bill 78, legislation that would redefine the term “biodiversity” in state law and prohibit state agencies from designating public lands to protect biological diversity.

The Michigan Environmental Council believes the bill, which already passed the full Senate, is likely to go to the House of Representatives for a vote. “And when it does, the environmental and conservation communities need to be ready to stand in opposition,” according to an article published in Michigan Distilled, a Michigan Environmental Council blog.

“Professor Bradley Cardinale, whose work focuses on the challenges of protecting biodiversity, has been working to point out the far-reaching ramifications of the bill. He, and 133 other Ph.D.-level professors representing 13 Michigan universities, have signed this letter urging Governor Rick Snyder to veto SB 78 should it reach his desk. Signing SB 78, they agree, would be a significant setback for the scientific management of state lands -- a decades-old philosophy that has successfully restored Michigan’s once–decimated forests, protected its freshwater lakes and streams, and done a reasonable job of balancing the needs of multiple constituencies who use state lands for diverse activities.”

The professors who signed Cardinale’s letter represent fields including ecology, forestry, fisheries and wildlife, economics, and statistics. “Collectively, this group has thousands of years of professional experience, and has published thousands of peer-reviewed scientific articles detailing how people impact nature, and how nature impacts people,” Cardinale said.

Read the council’s interview with Cardinale about his letter and the effects SB 78 would have on Michigan conservation.

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Cardinale, Brad

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