Release: MUCC Thanks AG for Opinion Protecting Natural Resources Trust Fund

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a formal Attorney General Opinion today that the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund could not be used for dredging projects, which are considered maintenance.

The Michigan Constitution states that the Natural Resources Trust Fund can only be used for acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation lands, but does not authorize maintenance projects such as dredging, as proposed in recent legislation.

“This opinion should put the speculation to rest.  Maintenance dredging projects cannot be funded by the Natural Resources Trust Fund, period,” Schuette said in a statement.

The Opinion, No. 7270, does say that the Waterways Account in the Michigan Conservation and Recreation Legacy Fund can be used for dredging because the act creating it specifically authorizes maintenance, unlike the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

“The Natural Resources Trust Fund was meant to create long term outdoor recreation benefits for the people of Michigan, both current and future generations, said Erin McDonough, Executive Director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “Michigan United Conservation Clubs, along with the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, have protected it for those purposes since its creation. We thank Attorney General Schuette for issuing this opinion to protect the Trust Fund for acquisition and development. We’re also happy to see that it identifies a more appropriate funding source for dredging with the Waterways Account.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund was created in 1976 and voted into the Michigan Constitution in 1984. It is funded by royalties generated from the sale of state-owned mineral rights, compensating Michigan citizens for the loss of nonrenewable resources with the acquisition and development of another nonrenewable resource, public recreation land.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs, founded in 1937, is the largest state-specific conservation organization in the country. Its mission is to unite citizens to conserve, defend and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.


  • Gabriel Caplett

    It’s so good to see the state Attorney General cracking down on Tom Casperson’s efforts to use the Natural Resources Trust Fund for mining and logging roads, and dredging.

    Now if only his land cap bill can be axed too. The DNR told us in the U.P. at recent meetings on their new plan that our representative in Lansing tells them that we think we have too much public land. I don’t know a single person up here that thinks we have too much public land to use. It’s the best thing we have here.

  • Terence O’Brien

    thats great , keep it where it is supposed to be , thats whats Etc with so many things like this they take from one and miss use it , some thing like our federal Government , has done with Social Security . pissing it away on special pet projects and Ect.

  • Ole Grizz

    Now, I’d like to see MUCC publish an analysis of the percentages of the Trust Fund that have spent on the traditional purposes we were told when we approved the amendment (i.e. access to land and waterways for hunting, fishing, etc.) versus building softball fields in suburbia. My bet is that the votes of “Soccer Moms” has become more important to the politicians than the votes of most outdoorsmen.

  • Tom Hamilton

    West Michigan anglers, charter boaters, and tourism promoters know well what a low life skunk 34th District R-Senator Geoff Hansen trying to steal our NRTF. We are happy Senator Hansen was stopped this time. The Michigan 34th District realizes the need to keep a constant close watch on Senator Hansen until he can be replaced by a much more honest politician.

    • Tom Hamilton

      25% of the NRTF goes to government units for parks and public access improvements such as the city Muskegon Fisherman’s Landing on Muskegon Lake. Senator Hansen is also helping his developer pals steal Fisherman’s Landing from our ‘public trust’ LWCF. That is why all sportsmen need to replace Senator Hansen soon as possible.