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E-M:/ senate environment committee report

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

The Michigan business community, which applauded Governor Engler's
elimination of citizen boards and commissions in environmental policy,
today implored a Senate committee to inject an advisory body into the
writing of an environmental quality index.

In a hearing of the State Senate Natural Resources and Environmental
Affairs Committee on S.B. 462, representatives of state business
associations said a "third party" would improve the quality of the proposed
index.  State Sen. Ken Sikkema, chair of the committee and sponsor of the
bill, gave no immediate indication of his position and did not call for a
committee vote on the bill.

MEC supports the bill with minor amendments.  It would require the
Department of Environmental Quality to issue an annual report, using
objective information, on the state of the state's environment.  This would
help fulfill the public's right to know.  But business witnesses said the
Michigan Environmental Science Board, an advisory body created by an Engler
executive order, should be charged with recommending what information
should be contained in the report.  MESB has issued reports generally
reflective of policy directions the Governor wishes to take and members of
its panels are often political conservatives.

The committee also reported to the full Senate two other bills:  S.B. 529,
which creates a Youth Conservation Council under MSU 4-H, and S.B. 530,
which extends authority for DEQ to collect fees for the processing of
aquatic nuisance control applications.  MEC supports both bills.

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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