LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Proposal one passed with 92% of precincts reporting and 84.3% of people voting for the proposal, which alters how revenue in the state’s park-related funds are spent.
Proposal 1 would require that at least 20% of the state park’s endowment fund spending be spent on park improvements, like upgrading and renovating facilities.
Proposal 1 would also require that at least 25% of the trust fund’s annual spending go toward parks and recreation areas and at least 25% toward land conservation.
As of 2020, the funds received revenue from mineral, oil and gas leases and royalties.
Conan Smith of the Michigan Environemtnal Council said the proposal would enhance safety.
“All summer Michiganders turned to their local parks, trails and outdoor spaces to commune and connect safely. That connection does not need to end with the cold weather,” Smith said.
Many environmental activists have backed Proposal 1, including The Nature Conservancy, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Recreation and Park Association and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, to name a few among the 50+ supporters listed online.
But groups like the Sierra Club and the Green Party voiced opposition to the proposal on grounds that it would encourage more oil and gas mining.
The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter said it recognizes the need for more investments in the upkeep of recreational facilities but believes there are alternative sources of money to accomplish those goals.
“Shifting prioritization of money from the MNRTF away from purchasing land and to the maintenance of facilities is shortsighted. Requiring revenue from a non-renewable source to go to ongoing, increasing funding needs creates financial problems, it doesn’t solve them,” the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter said in a statement.
Another criticism of the proposal is that it would take an additional 30 years for the endowment fund to reach $800 million, all while letting the gas mining continue.
John Anthony La Pietra is the elections coordinator of the Green Party of Michigan.
He said the proposal will only lead to more adverse environmental effects.
“Proposal 1 would make funding to sustain state parks dependent on more drilling — even more fracking. The proposal would mean less preservation of land, and more protection of oil and gas lobby influence.”