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E-M:/ Drain Code Bill Passes House

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

HB 4803 (H-2), the bill to amend Michigan's drain code, passed the state
House last night by a vote of 103 to 5.  35 amendments were considered with
very little substantive debate.  Included in the amendments that passed:

**Chapter 22, the controversial watershed management chapter was removed
from the bill.

**The number of petitioners that can start a process rolling was raised
from 5 to 10 and clarified that the petitioners have to be from separate
land parcels.

**A requirement for some description of natural resource impacts prior to 
the determination of necessity, the legal decision to undertake drain work
for county drains (No amendment was brought forward to assure this under
intercounty drain procedures, it is likely this will be added in the Senate.)

**Clarification that an overall charge to drain commissioners to protect
water quality, headwaters, main branches, and tributaries and to protect
the hydraulic capacity of floodplains and floodways applies to all drain
projects--new drains, improvements and maintenance.

While these amendments are helpful, there are still very serious problems
with the drain code.  Citizens will still not know the size, scope, cost
and total environmental impacts of a project until after their opportunity
to appeal has passed.  The ability for drain commissioners to assess
undeveloped public lands is still in the bill.

HB 4803 (H-2) now moves to the Senate where it will be taken up in January.

For record roll call votes on many of the amendments and on final passage
of the bill, go to

or try

www.michiganlegislature.org and click on 5 most recent House Journals for
the journal date of December 7.


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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