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E-M:/ house completes action on bond



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Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>
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The State House of Representatives approved and sent to the Senate a $750
million environmental bond proposal and linked it with creation of a state
Farmland Trust today.

The vote on H.B. 5622, which would put the proposal on the ballot, was
81-22 but didn't reflect continuing sharp disagreements over money the
House added to the original $500 million proposal yesterday.  

With the minimum 56 votes needed, and on the second try, the House agreed
to link the bond legislation to H.B. 5894 and 5895, legislation sponsored
by Rep. Howie Wetters that would create the Farmland Trust.  This means the
bond can't be spent if approved by voters unless the Trust legislation is
approved by the Legislature.

The House work today means the following changes were made in the bond the
last two days:

$100 million was added for drinking water loans to communities;

$100 million was added for wastewater loans to communities;

$25 million was set aside from other funds in the bond to pay for wellhead
protection;

>From funds already set aside in the bond, up to $20 million was earmarked
for lead abatement and up to $25 million for pollution prevention;

Between $40 and $60 million was guaranteed from the brownfield
redevelopment money for sites that pose imminent and substantial
endangerment to public health and safety or the environment;

The bond was linked to H.B. 5894 and 5895, the Farmland Trust;

The DEQ will be required to publish criteria explaining how it will choose
sites for the $300 million in brownfield redevelopment funding.

Key legislators who offered the above successful amendments were Reps.
Callahan, Gubow, Martinez, Brater, Wetters, Anthony and Mans.

House Speaker Hertel said, "This bond msut accomplish at least as much for
the environment and public health as it does for economic development.  The
Governor is selling this as an environmental initiative. Today, we put
truth behind his marketing."

Said Rep. Callahan, "We have urgent infrastrcuture needs which are too
expensive for local communities to finance.  This bond can help communities
clean up their lakes, rivers and drinking water supplies and preserve
recreational areas.  Let's not waste this opportunity to do some good for
our children and grandchildren.  Investments which keep our beaches open
during the summer are investments which are repaid a thousand times over in
tourist dollars."

In the Macomb Daily today, Governor Engler's spokesperson John Truscott
says of the bond, "It will not go to the ballot in its current form.  They
made it the proverbial Christmas tree. They just kept adding more and more
money."

Rep. Callahan said, "We want to help everybody who's upstream help
themselves, so that we can make sure the water in Lake St. Clair is
suitable for drinking."
Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
davemec@voyager.net
www.mienv.org

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