New proposal would add deposit to water bottles

Capital News Service
LANSING — There’s another move underway in the Legislature to expand Michigan’s 40-year-old beverage deposit law to include water and juice containers. But prospects for passage this year appear unlikely. The latest effort would add the current 10-cent deposit requirement on metal, glass and plastic carbonated beverage containers to include noncarbonated drinks, with exceptions for milk, other dairy products, unflavored soymilk and unflavored rice milk. The major additions would be water, juice, wine and liquor containers. The law that voters approved in 1976 covers containers of one gallon or less of “soft drinks, soda water, carbonated natural or mineral water or other nonalcoholic carbonated drink; beer, ale or other malt drinks of whatever alcoholic content or a mixed wine drink or a mixed spirit drink.” It took effect in 1978.

State fights illegal trafficking in bear parts

Capital News Service
LANSING — Government agencies and advocacy organizations are working to make sure the sun sets on Michigan bear poaching. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) arrested four people in early August for illegally purchasing and selling black bear parts. And the House Natural Resources Committee has passed a set of bills that call for stricter poaching penalties. The measures already won Senate approval and await action by the full House. Overseas demand for organs motivates poachers to kill the animals through unlawful methods, whether by hunting off-season or exceeding legal limits, DNR officials said.

New grants to promote more snowmobile trails

Capital News Service
LANSING – Expansion of snowmobile trails could boost local economies, but may lead to conflicts about crossing private land as well, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. In a move to head off such conflicts, a new state grant program will allow local governments and organizations to purchase permanent easements for snowmobile trails that cross private property. According to DNR recreation specialist Ron Yesney, half of Michigan’s snowmobile trails are on privately owned land. And although easements are necessary to use those trails, that use is at the discretion of the landowner. Twenty-five percent of the trail system is on state forest lands that are open to snowmobiling.