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E-M:/ roundup of environmental spending issues

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

The State House wrapped up work on the DEQ and DNR budgets Thursday.  Next
week, the House and Senate begin tackling environmental bond spending.

In today's action, the House:

*  Rejected 46-59 a move supported by the State Chamber of Commerce,
homebuilders and realtors to strip urban sprawl consideration language
drafted by Rep. Bill Byl from the DEQ budget;

*  Rejected 49-58 an amendment by Rep. Liz Brater to add 8 investigators to
toughen DEQ enforcement;

*  Rejected 51-55 an amendment by Rep. Ray Basham to ban the issuance by
DEQ of permits for new commercial hazardous waste underground injection

*  Rejected 50-56 an amendment by Rep. Deb Cherry to require DEQ to provide
a report on the number of acres of wetland it is permitting to be destroyed
through permits and created through mitigation this year;

*  Added $50,000 sought by Rep. Liz Brater to make the first-ever grants
from the Community Pollution Prevention Fund;

*  Added funding sought by Reps. Bob Brown and Gary Woronchak to restore
the volunteer River/Creek cleanup grants program;

*  Rejected on a 55-52 vote (56 needed for passage) an amendment offered by
Rep. Laura Baird to require DNR to issue guidance to get fish license
vendors to distribute fish consumption advisories.  A column by Barbara
Arrigo in Thursday's Detroit Free Press explained how of 6 license vendors
she visited, only 1 offered the fish advisory guide.  MEC and member groups
have frequently heard complaints about this issue from license purchasers.
Baird then worked out a compromise amendment requiring DNR to report on the
number of advisory guides distributed by vendors.

The bills, S.B. 364 and 370, go to the Senate, which will likely reject
them and set up a House-Senate conference committee.

Although timing is uncertain, House staff believe the DEQ/DNR
appropriations subcommitees will begin consideration of at least the
supplemental appropriation part of the Engler bond recommendations next week.

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

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