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Re: E-M:/ house adds $200 million to bond



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Enviro-Mich message from ThomPete@aol.com
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Thanks for the update, Dave.  I received a letter back from Jon Jellema that
essentially said, "Thanks for your input, but I'm not supporting any changes
in the Clean Michigan Initiative.  Those items [e.g. CSOs, farmland
preservation, and lead abatement] are important but they will be handled in
other bills."  He specifically mentioned the setting up of a revolving loan
fund for CSOs.  I am glad to see that idea incorporated in the House
amendments.

It may be too late, but in case you haven't seen our latest Action Issue, let
me remind you that the original deal on leaking underground storage tanks was
crippled by under-funding.  The study group said we would need a tax of 5
cents per gallon added to the cost of gasoline in order to take care of the
problem.  Instead of that we got 5/8ths of a cent per gallon.  In order to get
anything done, the bill allowed for bonding the program.  That meant that $60
million was made available immediately, but the added interest actually made
the too-small tax even less effective.  Now the big boys have taken advantage
of the funds and cleaned up their sites, but the fund is depleted.  The
remaining 70,000 (?) tanks are owned by those small time owner/operators who
don't have the money to clean them up if they wanted to.  

I'm not sure where I am going with this, but there are two possibilities.  One
is to add yet another item to the list of things we need to fix.  Obviously
the response will be, " If you overload this thing, it will not pass in
November."  And that is a valid criticism.  But the other possibility is to
use this as an object lesson to remind folks that a program that announces its
intention to clean Michigan and then commits insufficient funds to the task
will result in further erosion of confidence in government by the voters.
When the next legislature is seated and the truth comes out, the voters will
say, "What do you mean you need more money for environmental clean-up?  I
thought we fixed that problem with that big bond project last time?"  So
whether LUST is added to the list or not, let's be clear on what this bond can
and cannot do.

Thanks.

Thom Peterson
West Michigan Environmental Action Council

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