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E-M:/ Drain Code--It's back

Enviro-Mich message from Julie Stoneman <juliemec@voyager.net>

****Heads up to all activists who care about Michigan's waterways,
floodplains, wetlands and more. . .****

Like runoff from a major rain event, the drain code bill, HB 4803, is
expected to wash through the Michigan House this fall.  On Tuesday, House
Agriculture Chair Mike Green (R-Mayville)announced that a re-write of HB
4803 will be out by the end of the week and work on the first two chapters
of the code will begin in the House Agriculture Committee next Tuesday
(Sept.28) at 9am, Rm 424, State Capitol.  

All indicators tell us that House leaders want the bill out before December
break.  That's a tight time frame to wrangle substantive changes out of a
complex, 250 plus page bill (one that was basically written by the Michigan
Association of County Drain Commissioners) although Green has promised
consideration of all amendments presented in committee.  Whether or not the
upcoming re-write will adequately address our major concerns remains to be
seen.  Advocates for natural resource protection and improved public
participation will need to stick tight, track the committee process, read
what to do below, and watch sources like enviro-mich for updates and alerts.

****Case Studies Demonstrate Need for Real Reform**** 

Working with groups like the Michigan Environmental Council, Clean Water
Action, the League of Women Voters of Michigan, the Michigan Drain Code
Coalition, and Taxpayers United, the Michigan Land Use Institute has
published five case studies that illustrate key problem areas under the
current code.  They clearly illustrate why drain code reform is needed and
why action on HB 4803 will be some of the most important votes the
Legislature will take on natural resource issues this year.  To obtain
copies, contact Patty Cantrell, Michigan Land Use Institute, 231-882-4723,
X18 or email: <patty@mlui.org>  They will be available soon from their
website, <www.mlui.org>

****Steps You Can Take****

Act now! Write a letter calling for meaningful reform in HB 4803 using the
issue points below.  Write to Rep. Mike Green, Chair of the House
Agriculture and Resource Management Committee, State Capitol, P.O. Box
30014, Lansing, MI  48909-7514.  888-254-5284.  email:
<green@house.state.mi.us>  Use the points listed below.

Send copies to other Representatives of the House Ag Committee as well as
to your own state rep at the same address above:

Larry Julian (R-Lennon)	517-373-0841
Ken Bradstreet (R-Gaylord)  517-373-0829		
Gene DeRossett (R-Manchester) 517-373-0828
Larry DeVuyst (R-Alma) 517-373-0834
Steve Ehardt (R-Lexington) 517-373-0835
Jim Howell (R-St. Charles) 517-373-0837
Rick Johnson (R-LeRoy) 517-373-1747
James Koetje (R-Grandville) 517-373-0846
Steven Vear (R-Hillsdale) 517-373-1794
Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) 517-373-2577
Rose Bogardus (D-Davison) 517-373-3944
John Hansen (D-Dexter) 517-373-1792
Ed LaForge (D-Kalamazoo) 517-373-1785
Joseph Rivet (D-Bay City) 517-373-0158
Dale Sheltrown (D-Gladwin) 517-373-3817
Doug Spade (D-Adrian) 517-373-1706

Track and attend committee meetings. The House Ag Committee's standing
meeting date is every Tuesday morning at 9:00am, Rm 424, State Capitol, but
additional meetings or time changes frequently occur.  Contact the House Ag
Clerk, Chad Linzey, 517-373-0015, to get on the committee mailing list or
go to <www.michiganlegislature.org> for committee news.

Tell your drain story to your state legislators.  Write letters to the editor.

Check out the website of the Michigan Drain Code Coalition for more
information:  <http://members.tripod.com/Michigan_Drain_Code/>

****The Issues****

To write letters, take your pick of one or two issues below.  Insist that
HB 4803:

* Provide public with details of project cost, scope, and route before
making major drain work decisions
* Base major drain decisions (called "determination of necessity") on
cost-benefit analyses, environmental effects and public comments.
* Require consideration of upstream and downstream consequences of all
major drain work
* Require major drain work comply with the Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection Act
* Provide for meaningful citizen appeals
* Require consideration of less expensive or less damaging alternatives before
pursuing drain work to manage water quantity
* Require clear definition and rational for who pays and how much--higher
costs should be apportioned to the greatest land use changes that
necessitate drain work
* Require verification of drain establishment and easements

Thank you!

Julie Stoneman
Director of Land Programs
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Dr., Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
Ph:	517-487-9539
Fax:	517-487-9541
Email:	juliemec@voyager.net

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