Casperson stamp sands bill sent to the governor

For Immediate Release
June 17, 2014

Contact: Marty Fittante

LANSING, Mich.—Legislation to ensure unreasonable regulations cannot be imposed on properties containing only stamp sands has been sent to the governor.

“The western Upper Peninsula landscape is covered with stamp sands, or crushed rock that is a result of our mining heritage,” said Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. “While the stamp sands may have some native metals such as copper, they do not need to be regulated as contaminated properties because stamp sands by themselves do not present a public health risk, which has been publicly affirmed by the Department of Environmental Quality.”

Local officials and residents called for this change in the law after having worked for years with various environmental agencies and feeling frustrated that needless bureaucratic regulations could negatively impact private property any time a department chose to pursue the law. 

Under this change in the law, remediation can continue in areas that may contain contamination from other sources such as Torch Lake, and reasonable efforts such as planting vegetation on exposed stamp sands to prevent erosion or blowing sand can be taken. Also, given that stamp sands do contain copper, which can affect organisms when placed in the water, the legislation did not change regulations related to stamp sands’ effects on surface water.

“Necessary regulations will still be in effect for truly contaminated properties,” Casperson said. “However, our UP communities should not be penalized for native substances that are a part of the region and present in nature and which are not hazardous to public health. Instead, we should be able to live with and reuse these substances where it makes sense.”

Senate Bill 872 now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.