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Residents of Northport express frustration over the lack of progress in removing a barge that has been floating in Lake Michigan for three years.

The barge initially sank in West Grand Traverse Bay in 2020 before ending up in Northport, where it remains.

Bill Lanzit, one of the affected residents, voiced his frustration, stating, “One of the biggest problems we have is we don’t feel that [the owner] is truthful in any way.

It’s very frustrating.”

Crews attempted to remove the barge two weeks ago, but it still hasn’t been successfully taken out of the bay.

Neighbors were informed that the barge started to sink again over the past weekend but appears to be floating once more.

Linda Land and her husband have been dealing with the presence of the barge near their home for nearly two years.

They have been working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to address the issue.

However, the EGLE can only do so much as it lacks regulatory authority over a vessel that is floating or at anchor unless it poses a threat to the environment or is deemed abandoned.

When the barge initially sank in 2020, the EGLE was unable to dictate its specific relocation or actions, as long as it remained off the bottom and didn’t release pollutants into the water.

The ongoing dilemma has caused frustration among Northport residents, who feel let down by both the EGLE and the barge’s owner.

The lack of progress has created a sense of uncertainty, with residents experiencing a “1 step forward, 2 steps back” situation.

The EGLE acknowledges the residents’ frustrations and expresses a desire to work with lawmakers to find a permanent solution and address similar situations responsibly in the future.

While there are currently no proposals, efforts are underway to bring about changes to Michigan’s laws regarding such incidents.

Meanwhile, the affected residents, like the Lancets, are exploring possible legal action.

They have submitted their case to the attorney general, although there is no timeline for when it will be addressed.

When seeking clarification from the EGLE’s public information officer about the authority overseeing the situation, it was stated that the department is currently unable to provide further information at this time.

The lack of transparency adds to the residents’ concerns and uncertainties surrounding the barge’s removal.

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