To the editor:
Those of us from northern Michigan know our part of the world is a special place. From the Great Lakes to the forests that line our roads, the Upper Peninsula is known across the country for its natural beauty.
I grew up in the Upper Peninsula. I raised my children here. I know just how important the Great Lakes are to our way of life. From spending hours in shanties ice fishing to catching trout on the Paint River, like many in our area, Michigan's lakes and rivers have helped shape who I am today.
Northern Michigan's natural resources are also the lifeblood of our economy-every Northern Michiganders know that. But today, our lakes are facing threats from invasive species like the Asian carp and sea lamprey. I believe we cannot allow these non-native predators to permanently hurt our local fish species.
That is why I have strongly supported efforts that ensure Michigan's natural resources are protected. I have co-sponsored a number of bills aimed at protecting the Great Lakes, like the "Stop Invasive Species Act," the "Asian Carp Prevention Act" and the "Asian Carp Act of 2012." Additionally, I am a proud member of the Great Lakes Task Force, a bipartisan group of lawmakers whose goal is to protect the Great Lakes.
Protecting our Great Lakes is a serious issue-not just a political sound bite. I have not merely been talking about protecting our resources; I have actually been working to support real legislation. I believe this is important not only for Northern Michigan's economy today, but for our children and grandchildren tomorrow.
But that future will require careful stewardship of our waters, and that is exactly what I have been working with members of both parties to support common sense initiatives that protect our Great Lakes.
I don't think securing Michigan's wonderful natural resources should be a partisan issue. I want to make sure local and state officials in Michigan decide how best to protect our environment, not some bureaucrats in an office in Washington who have never even set foot in the Upper Peninsula.
In my opinion, members of both political parties should agree that we need to strike a sensible balance of protecting our environment and allowing our small businesses to thrive. I believe by working together, we can make that happen.
DR. DAN BENISHEK