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Michigan streamlines sandbag permitting due to high lake levels


Michigan is making it easier and cheaper for people to get permits for sandbags, as high water levels in the Great Lakes, often combined with severe storms, are causing big problems for homeowners.  

Many people are losing much of the beachfront part of their properties to erosion, and in a few cases, losing their homes as well. 

The state has now created what it calls a "minor project" category to speed up the permitting process to install sandbags to address erosion. In many cases, the permits are issued within a few days, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The permit fee has been reduced as well. 

State officials say sandbags are a temporary solution, and homeowners will need to pursue more permanent solutions like putting in boulders, loose stone, or even moving their homes further inland.  

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.