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Re: E-M:/ Everybody look what's going down

Enviro-Mich message from "David Zaber" <dzaber@chorus.net>


The proposed drain bill (4803) is flawed.

It will force the public to pay for ecologically-destructive drain projects
by subjecting public lands (state forests, parks, etc.) to payment
provisions for drain works.

It allows decisions to be made before adequate environmental analyses are
conducted, if they are conducted at all.

It continues to limit the public's role in oversight and decision-making on
drain matters.

It places excessive decision making authority into the hands of a few people
for decisions that have the potential to impact large numbers of citizens
and create serious and irreversible environmental damage.

It also shifts water quality authority away from agencies entrusted to
enforce Clean Water Act provisions to drain commissioners.  If all of the
state's drain commissioners were Ms. Bobrin, I would not worry about the
bill.  Unfortunately, they are not.  And a trip to any number of Michigan
waterways (read "drains") outside of Washtenaw county will show you just how
different they are.

Without strong laws with clear procedures that allow for meaningful public
participation throughout the decision-making process, the degradation of
Michigan waterways via actions of the drainage districts will continue.
Providing funding for local watershed groups, while commendable and useful,
does not substitute for the real mechanisms for citizen oversight and
enforcement.  HR 4803 throws out the baby with the bathwater so to speak.
Don't let  the carrot of a few dollars for watershed councils distract you
from the need for a great big stick that all citizens, not just drain
commissioners can use.

David J. Zaber
Western Lakes Wildlife Center

----- Original Message -----
From: Janis Bobrin <jbobrin@Bizserve.com>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, December 03, 1999 7:00 AM
Subject: E-M:/ Everybody look what's going down

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from jbobrin@bizserve.com (Janis Bobrin)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> While I very much appreciate Sue Julian's dedication to this issue, and to
> Michigan's waterways, the posting she has provided re. proposed revisions
> to the Michigan Drain Code is far from accurate.  While the bill is not
> perfect, for the first time it contains broad directives to drain
> commissioners regarding a new MANDATED responsibility to protect water
> quality and the environment, to mitigate and minimize environmental
> of drain projects, and to look at alternatives....giving priority to
> detention and retention of storm water, over drainage and conveyence.
> is indeed more public input into drain projects, and better public notice
> as well.
> As one of the co-authors of the watershed mmt. provision of the proposed
> revised code, I can state uncategorically that this is no "John Engler
> Strategy."  Watershed management cannot be mandated top-down; it must
> involve ALL of the local community leaders as well as ALL of the
> stakeholders in a watershed.  Watershed mmt is about engaging communities
> and citizens..... about changing land use practices, citizen stewardship,
> public education, and much more.  I encourage you to take the time to read
> the watershed mmt. section of the proposed drain code, wherein drain
> commissioners are simply one entity at the table, and cannot initiate or
> control the process, or determine if and how money is spent..
> I am not saying it's a perfect bill, but as a drain commissioner who knows
> the current law (and as a Michigan citizen who has worked on environmental
> issues for 25 years, chaired East Michigan Environmental Action Council,
> and currently chairs the Huron River Watershed Council) I AM SAYING THAT
> tools and authority to protect the environment that do not exist in the
> current law.
> I am available to discuss the proposed legislation with any one who would
> like to do so.  Phone # is (734)994.2525.  The best e-mail to use is not
> the one above (though it will work), but rather,
> bobrinj@co.washtenaw.mi.us
> Janis Bobrin
> Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner
> P.O. Box 8645
> Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8645
> Phone: (734) 994.2525  Fax (734)994.2459
> E-mail: bobrinj@co.washtenaw.mi.us
> >X-Authentication-Warning: superior.great-lakes.net: majordom set sender
> >owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net using -f
> >X-Sender: benj@mail.tir.com
> >X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Light Version 3.0.6 (32)
> >Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 10:10:28 -0500
> >To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
> >From: Sue Julian <benj@tir.com>
> >Subject: E-M:/ Everybody look what's going down
> >Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> >Sender: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
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> >Reply-To: Sue Julian <benj@tir.com>
> >List-Name: Enviro-Mich
> >X-UIDL: ee3134f9200c552ed6520737e6399124
> >
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >Enviro-Mich message from Sue Julian <benj@tir.com>
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >This is for all of you with a memory that reaches back twenty to thirty
> >years, to a time when the water resources of Michigan were considered
> >important enough to pass the Inland Lakes and Streams Act and the Wetland
> >Protection Act.  And to the Milliken Era when the governor was almost
> >successful in transferring watershed management from the Department of
> >Agriculture to the DNR.  Well folks, the reverse is happening now.  This
> >governor is promoting HB 4803 which is scheduled for vote TOMORROW on the
> >House floor.
> >
> >"... Itis time we stop now, whatis that sound? Everybody look whatis
> >down" (apologies to Buffalo Springfield)
> >
> >Remember the Michigan Environmental Code Commission and the shuffle of
> >statutes lumped together under NREPA that sent veteran environmentalists
> >scurrying to figure out the consequences of the re-write?  Itis happened
> >again.  The drain commissionersi association sponsored by the Department
> >Agriculture has written a bill of, by and for drain commissioners to
> >"manage" water under the ditch and dredge guidelines of the Drain Code.
> >Chapters have been combined, sections re-written and authority
> >in the hands of these little-known county officials.  That nice sounding
> >name, "Watershed Management," is given to what is actually a shift away
> >from the STATEiS responsibility to follow through on the Federal Clean
> >Water Act, on the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act, on the
> >Resources Protection Act and on Wetland Protection Act.
> >
> >"..What it is ainit exactly clear..."
> >unless youive read and reread this 283 page bill.  But then the brilliant
> >Engler strategy comes out.   (Didnit he tell us, "I know how to handle
> >environmentalists"?)  Grab all the Federal dollars linked to watersheds,
> >turn the administration over to non-professional non-environmentalists,
> >slice out any DEQ enforcement, substitute Depit of Ag priorities
> >and--listen  to this one--place it in an unfettered taxing authority that
> >raises millions of dollars of funds without spending a state dime!
> >
> >Are you paying attention to how other governors are trying to gut the
> >provisions of Phase II Stormwater guidelines?  Well, Michigan is about to
> >get snookered.  Our chance at leaving clean waters and great lakes to
> >posterity is going to disappear with a crummy sounding bill called the
> >drain code.  And most people wonit be even paying attention.
> >
> >Kill the bill.  Call now - call your rep, call Perricone (517-373-1774),
> >call DeGrow (517-373-7708) and call Engler (517-373-3400).
> >
> >P.S.  Weive identified a close to 200 problems with the bill but the
> >vote for a tax hike" refrain is the only one that will probably connect
> >with legislators who havenit read and arenit going to read the bill. If,
> >however, you want to cite specifics, check out the web site
> ><http:/members.tripod.com/Michigan_Drain_Code>.  We will add a complete
> >bill analysis as soon as possible.
> >
> >*****************************************************************
> >* Sue Julian                                                    *
> >* Michigan Drain Code Coalition                                 *
> >* Phone: (248) 634-3513                                         *
> >* Phone: (517) 324-9664 (ans. mach.)                            *
> >* P.O. Box 304                                                  *
> >* Holly, MI 48442                                               *
> >* email: benj@tir.com                                           *
> >* MDCC Homepage: http://members.tripod.com/Michigan_Drain_Code/ *
> >*****************************************************************
> >
> >==============================================================
> >ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
> >and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
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> ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
> and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
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