Never Count a Regulator Out

Published May 1, 1998

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently attempted to designate the Manistee River a Natural River. Largely due to an extensive educational campaign by the national Citizens Alliance for Regulatory Reform, 45 townships, 6 counties and a host of other organizations, including the Michigan Townships Association, passed resolutions opposing such designations.

The opposition caused Dan Pearson, who manages the Natural Rivers program for the department, to withdraw the plan. But you can never count a regulator out.

Mr. Pearson, acting officially in his capacity as a Department of Natural Resources representative, called together a meeting of residents to discuss plans to form a private “river advocacy” group. To assist in the advocacy group’s formation, he introduced residents to the National Alliance of River, Sound & Bay KEEPERS–a group whose literature says, “KEEPERS are part investigator, scientist, lawyer, lobbyist and PR agent.”

In other words, an employee of a Michigan state regulatory agency is actively encouraging the establishment of a private group to lobby the state to expand his agency’s authority and budget!