A state Senate committee has approved a bill that would restrict the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' authority to base forest management decisions on the goal of promoting biological diversity.
The measure cleared the Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes committee Thursday on a party-line vote, with Republicans providing all the support. It now goes to the Senate floor.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba. He says it's intended to prevent the DNR from turning large areas of state-owned land into the equivalent of wilderness where logging and motorized recreation would be off-limits.
The Michigan Environmental Council says the bill would stop the agency from basing forest management policies on science. University experts have testified that biodiversity is important for recreation as well as the environment.