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E-M:/ GLIN CONTENT:/ EIS bill from Rep. Emerson?

Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com

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Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 16:15:23 -0500
To: glin-announce@great-lakes.net
From: Christian Howd <chowd@student.flint.umich.edu>
Subject: Environmental Impact Statements
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Environmental Impact Statements May Soon Be Required

An article appearing in the Flint Journal on Wednesday, November
12 indicated that a bill requiring Environmental Impact Statements 
(EIS) was currently being developed by Rep. Robert L. 
Emerson of Flint, Michigan.  The bill would require the Michigan 
Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to begin conducting 
EIS's as early as January 1998.  An EIS is a document which 
aspires to determine how a certain facility or development will 
affect such elements as earth, air, water, plants and animals, 
environmental health, land and shoreline usage, aesthetics, 
light and glare, transportation routes, and public services.  

In addition to identifying which elements will be impacted 
by the subject development, the EIS may assess various 
alternatives to a development to determine a method of 
development which results in minimal impact to the 
environment, and may offer mitigation measures in 
order to reduce or effectively eliminate the identified impacts. 

Although the article stated that currently approximately 30 
states require EIS's before facilities may receive 
approval for development, the proposed bill adds a new 
assessment category to the EIS.  The bill would require the
MDEQ to assess all sources of environmental concern in 
a community before approving the development.  This 
requirement would make the proposed assessment 
process the first requiring a cumulative risk review.  
This requirement stemmed from a recent lawsuit in 
Genesee County involving the Genesee Power Station and 
the northeast Flint community it resides in.  The power station 
typically incinerates construction debris from older housing 
stock, in which lead from paint is a concern, the article noted.  
Judge Archie L. Hayman ruled in May that although the 
facility in question may have operated within state guidelines, 
the state failed to consider the cumulative effect of all 
sources of concern within the community.  David Dempsey, 
policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council 
noted that the cumulative risk review requirement is 
beneficial in that it more accurately assesses the 
"real world" condition of the community.  Significant developments 
which make use of federal or state-level funding, or which 
have the potential to cause a significant environmental impact, 
either solely or in conjunction with other facilities, may be 
required to submit an EIS for review.

The article added that the MDEQ would most likely not support 
the proposed bill; the MDEQ feels that it already 
adequately addresses the health and safety concerns within 
Michigan communities.

Although the bill may have some prominent opposition, the 
bill is an indicator of the feelings of those that experience the 
effects of large-scale commercial and industrial development in 
their community.  The requirement of the cumulative risk 
assessment would be a critical factor in adequately addressing 
the potential impacts on a community from a large 
and complex development.  Not only would the EIS assess 
impacts from the subject development, but also it would 
determine how these impacts would behave in a community 
already exposed to certain other existing environmental concerns.  
The net result would be an environmental assessment that 
more accurately and scientifically identifies and mitigates negative 
environmental impacts to the community.

Reference:  Webber, Tammy.  "Tough Anti-Pollution Bill Rooted in 
Genesee Township."  Flint Journal.  November 12, 1997:  A3

Christian D. Howd
Environmental Technician
Applied EcoSystems, Inc.
Environmental Engineering, Consulting, and Field  Services
G-5527 South Saginaw Street
Flint, Michigan  48507
(810) 695-4477
Fax:  (810) 695-4483

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)

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