Congressman Bill Huizenga Gets Better Look at Lakeshore Erosion Through Coast Guard Helicopter

The high water levels we’ve told you about all year, paired with strong wind we’ve seen continues to erode land along Lake Michigan’s shoreline.

Friday, Congressman Bill Huizenga took a helicopter ride with the U.S. Coast Guard to get a better look at the damage.

“There is a lot of areas where it was dramatic,” said Huizenga.

Huizenga got a bird’s eye view of the erosion damage along the Lake Michigan shoreline, starting in Muskegon, down to Holland and up toward parts of Ludington.

“There were some spots kind of south of Ludington where it was hundreds of feet high, those dunes and it was just cliffs going down,” said Huizenga.

The congressman says time is of the essence in this situation.

“Seems to me that the state should declare a state of emergency on that. That will then help us make the argument with the Army Corps and with FEMA and others that we need their attention,” said Huizenga.

But he says, while he and others continue to push for that, the state hasn’t budged.

“The answers that we have gotten out of the state is that they just don’t see the emergency element as of yet,” said Huizenga.

The congressman says he has talked with FEMA, EGLE and the Army Corps of Engineers about the possibility of streamlining their permitting process.

“We know that one storm can literally wipe out tens of feet of material coming down off of those dunes. For a number of those houses that are literally right on the edge, that could mean whether they stay up or go into the lake,” said Huizenga. “Then we’re dealing with things like asbestos and other pollutants getting into the lake.”

The congressman says it’s crucial that locally, state-wide, and federally, governments and agencies work together to find a solution.