Although, I was unable to attend this conservation forum due to work obligations, I was given the questions by the host agency and below are my responses. Thank you to the Mid Michigan United Sportsman's Alliance for hosting this forum and giving me this opportunity.
What are the panels thoughts regarding Ice Mountain the effects the
withdrawal has on water tables and wetlands?
Wetlands are crucial natural environments, with a diversity of wildlife. It's critical that we maintain these environments and mitigate our effects upon them. It's clear, from the drop in the water table, that Nestle Ice Mountain is drawing too much from the table.
What are the panels thoughts on more water testing in the area due to
the findings in nearby areas?
Water quality/safety has come into sharper focus recently, with the scope of the damage from PFOS/PFAS contamination becoming clearer. It's clear, the state had not empowered the DEQ enough to deter companies from deliberately destroying our state's natural treasures. When I'm elected, I will fight to ensure the DEQ is re-empowered, and I'll vote to approve stricter PFAS/PFOS standards. The seriousness of these forever carcinogenic chemicals warrants tougher, stricter standards.
If elected will you continue helping Flint and their water situation?
And why are we stilling working on this problem?
When I'm elected, I'll introduce legislation to speed the recovery process in Flint and continue the Water PODs locations in the meantime. Rebuilding and maintenance of our I should be a non-partisan issue, as the quality and safety of these structures, impacts all our everyday lives.
It's my opinion, we are still working on the problem, because we as a people, we're focused more on who was to blame, rather than solving the problem in the first place. In such, we lost crucial time and as a result momentum, in order to speed the full recovery of Flint's infrastructure water system.
In your view, what invasive species poses the greatest threat to
Michigan’s natural resources and how will you work to address this
issue once taking office?
It's hard to place a finger on any 1 species, so I'll say; on land it's Japanese Knotweed and in water its Asian Carp. Both of these populate rapidly, are tenacious, and consume space/resources native populations depend on, although Asian Carp is still an impending threat.
In order to address these problem Invaders, Michigan's DNR & DNR, along with partner agencies & extensions need empowerment and funding commiserate to the scale of the challenge we face. In order to preserve the native specie populations, we must be resolute in the goal to eradicate the tenacious invasive species. As a legislator; I will vote to prioritize these goals, in order to responsibly restore the balance of our state's native habitats.
Urban water systems have rightly been a topic of policy focus lately,
however rural water systems offer their own sets of water quality
challenges. What are your views on establishing a statewide septic
code and use your answer to expand on what your clean water priorities
Clean/safe water access is clearly the growing challenge of our time.
I view a statewide uniform septic code, as blueprint, a plan for preserving rural safe/clean water access. A code of this importance should be written utilizing best proven practices, proven regulation, and measurable results. It should also stagger into full enforcement, as to not excessively burden individual homeowners.
I believe our priorities, for clean and safe water, should be able to ensure everyone in Michigan has clean, safe, & reliable water access without exception.
Everyone from downtown to down on the farm, should be able to drink Michigan's water, without the fear of ingesting carcinogenic chemicals or waterborne illnesses. It's past time to restore and protect our waters.
Most Michigan hunters are terribly concerned about Chronic Wasting
Disease (CWD) an always fatal neurological disease affecting deer.
What will you do as a legislator to assist in controlling the spread
and reducing the prevalence of this disease in Michigan?
I will promote legislation, which reforms these regulations, promoting: education, free replacement tags, expanded feeless testing sites, and expand the numbers of tags hunters may purchase.
It's crucial, whichever policies we promote, we do so with sound data and an investigative spirit. I believe the solution to solving the CWD challenge is with education and tenacious, investigative study of herds, disease, and wildlife conservation programs.
Do you hunt and fish, and if so, when was the last time you purchased
a hunting or fishing license and participated in those activities?
I fished local ponds and creeks around Palo, back in my adolescent years. I regret as I came of age to work, I haven't taken more time to enjoy our great state's natural habitats more. Those years, were the last time I partook in those activities, purchased licenses.
Describe your views on bipartisanship and how important it is to you
personally to work with members of the other party?
I think it's more important to be nonpartisan in representing my district, rather than being bi-partisan. There are viewpoints you can only discover, by developing and fostering kinship with various members of your community. I believe this is also true, when considering the challenges of our state, and the various viewpoints in our state legislature. In such; it will be my goal to shatter the barrier between the parties, so the people can best tackle the challenges Michigan's people face.
Describe your views on public lands. In your opinion does the state
own enough hunting and fishing land in Michigan?
Without comprehensive study of this issue, I believe so. However, I also believe we as a state, should improve our methods and policies in managing our natural treasures and the land our public now controls. Environmental contamination is a dire and current threat to not only humans, but also to native and migratory wildlife populations.
Citizen initiated legislation passed in 1996 and again in 2014 and
2016 provides that the Natural Resources Commission has the exclusive
authority to regulate the taking of fish and game based upon the best
available science. Do you support the NRC’s exclusive authority in
The Michigan legislature boasts one of the largest legislative
sportsmen’s caucuses in the nation. If elected, do intend to become
an active member of that caucus?
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the establishment
of a sandhill crane hunting season in Michigan is a biologically sound
management tool for sandhill cranes. Do you support the
establishment of a sandhill crane hunting season in Michigan?
Mark Bignell is an alumni of Montcalm Community College and Grand Valley State University. He is a former candidate for US Representative in congress and a current candidate for Michigan State Senate.