Last week, we covered the controversy surrounding the Governor’s decision to ban any form of motorized boating under her most recent Executive Order: 2020-42. The issue was not specifically addressed in the language of the order, but was listed as prohibited on an FAQ section of the state website.
Now, a group known as the MUCC (Michigan United Conservation Clubs), is filing a lawsuit against Governor Whitmer and the Michigan DNR. Billing itself as “the largest statewide conservation organization in the nation,” the group numbers some 40,000 members. The suit requests an injunction against “the criminalization of motorized boating,” according to their website.
Pointing out that they support the initiative to protect the health of Michiganders against this deadly virus, the MUCC believes that this specific provision of the executive order is unconstitutional. They even go so far as to say they understand the closing of several boat access sites that see heavy traffic this time of year. However, they point out, the thousands of other access points that see infrequent traffic should remain open. Citing the benefits to “mental health and general wellbeing”, they argue Michiganders deserve the right to use motorized boats on the water.
“Michigan anglers and recreational boaters are entitled to clear and unambiguous rules, and they should not be subject to criminal penalties based on arbitrary interpretations of a unilateral order in an FAQ.” – MUCC
There have been some Michigan questioning whether or not the suit is a partisan effort connected to the Protest in Lansing from Wednesday 4/15 known as ‘Operation Gridlock’. In response to this claim Executive Director, Amy Trotter of the MUCC said, “This litigation would not be brought forward if it did not include a sound policy argument. Attempts to cast this as emotionally- or politically-driven are baseless.”
The suit was filed in the US District Court, Western District of Michigan on April 19th, 2020. The full text of the civil complaint can be found here.
More information on the MUCC and links to a page accepting donations to help in the legal battle can be found on the group’s website.