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E-M:/ environmental legislation gets action in House

Enviro-Mich message from davemec@voyager.net (Dave Dempsey)

The State House of Representatives passed two important pieces of
environmental legislation this week, although it took a second try to enact
one of them.

Yesterday, the House approved by a 65-39 vote H.B. 5114, which establishes
wetland permit fees that will come close, to the first time, to paying for
the state's cost of reviewing proposed projects.  The Thursday vote came
after a 49-52 defeat of the same bill Wednesday, when many legislators
apparently voted "no" out of confusion and contempt for wetlands
protection.  Fees would range from $100 to $2,000, depnding on the size and
complexity of the project, and would raise about $325,000 to $450,000.  A
committee amendment supported by MEC and MUCC specifies that the monies can
be used for DEQ wetland compliance and enforcement activities in addition
to permit review.  The bill is sponsored by Rep. Kwame Kilpatrick.

On Wednesday, the House unanimously approved H.B. 5136, which revises
Michigan law to conform to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  The bill's
sponsor, Rep. Jon Jellema, authored an amendment to the bill on the floor
sought by Clean Water Action and MEC which protects the public's right to
know about contamination in drinking water supplies.  It makes the new
"consumer confidence reports" required by federal law a state requirement
(and therefore state enforceable as well).  It also requires DEQ to
promulgate rules which will specify what the reports contain, including
both content and format, and requires suppliers of water to alert sensitive
subpopulations (the elderly, pregnant women, children, and the ill) with
warnings if contaminants are detected which may put them particularly at

Both bills now go to the State Senate and will probably see no action until
early 1998.

Dave Dempsey
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (fax)

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