State Senate OKs big changes to natural resources fund

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park. (Courtesy Thurston De Vos, file)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has approved significant changes in how the state buys and improves land for public recreation.

Legislation passed 24-14 Wednesday by the Republican-controlled chamber would empower the Legislature to have more say in decisions that largely are made by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board. Another bill would spend nearly $8 million more on projects this year than recommended.

Senators say the state should spend more from the fund. Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration is opposed to the bill, saying it is an unconstitutional overreach. Attorney General Bill Schuette has been asked to weigh in with a legal opinion.

The fund consists of royalties paid by companies to drill for oil and natural gas on state property and is used to buy and improve land for public recreation.