With over 3,200 miles of coastline on the Great Lakes, this frees up a considerable amount of beach owners. Opponents of the legislation were concerned about protecting the coastline environment. However only 4 permits were denied since 2007, so the change in cleaning activity is likely not to change drastically, and the marginal profits the 500 issued permits are not likely to be missed by the state. This removal of red-tape, however, has caused quite a stir.
How is this recent tryst with policy and politics applicable to the beach cleaning community? Primarily, it highlights a common middle-ground in policy between beach owners and environmental groups. While many beaches would be unusable and unsafe without regular cleaning, ecosystems should be respected when cleaning, as well. Michigan granted additional freedom to clean the top part of the beach while respecting the environmental safety of the beaches by restricting them from cleaning bellow the tideline.
Therefore, in addition to granting additional freedom to beach cleaners in Michigan, this bill also reminds the beach cleaning community that beach cleaning is not simply bad or good, but that its benefits can be balanced with the concerns it creates.