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E-M:/ senate votes to bail out utilities on air fees

Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>

The State Senate yesterday rejected on a vote of 8-28 a bill to force
utilities to pay their fair share of air pollution permit fees, then voted
33-1 in favor of perpetuating the current system.  The bill (S.B. 813) will
be taken up in the House Conservation Committee on Wednesday.

Expected to raise $10.9 million for state and local air pollution control
programs annually, the Senate-passed bill (sponsored by Sen. Chris Dingell)
caps fees utilities must pay, thus forcing all other businesses to
subsidize utility pollution.  Small and medium sized businesses are
particularly penalized.  Current air fee legislation expires at the end of
the current fiscal year.

The alternative bill was offered by Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith, who pointed
out that 97% of businesses would pay lower fees under her proposal, while
it would give utilities an incentive to reduce their air emissions.
Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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