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E-M:/ So that your Thanksgiving thoughts will turn to action

Enviro-Mich message from Sue Julian <benj@tir.com>

Please read below then write a letter of opposition to HB 4803 (Drain
Code), up for a vote in the Senate on Nov 28, as you reflect on what we
should be thankful for.  It is vital that all Michgan senators
understand that a change in
wetland, river and lake policy is needed.  We will leave little of our
resources for the future if Michigan continues to manage water policy by
Drain Code rules.

1)  Sec. 10 STILL says drains may be laid into wetlands and lakes.  No
qualifiers were added.

2) Sec. 3 (F) says all applicable permits must be acquired, but leaves
intact the LOOPHOLE for work involving drains established prior to 1973
(and presumably laterals, "improvements" and additions to all those

3)  Sec. 3 (B) which directs drain commissioners to "avoid, minimize and

mitigate impacts on land..." is superseded by Sec. 55, "The scope of the

project is within the sole authority of the drain commissioner...."
Thus the language leaves the STATUS QUO in effect, and destructive
wetland elimination will continue unless the drain commissioner
personally wants it otherwise.

4)  The bill still PREVENTS ANY APPEAL of the scope or cost or impact of

a drain project by limiting appeal to the procedural aspects of drain
work (ie. were notices sent on time? did the Board of Determination
meeting proceed correctly?).  (See Sec. 161)

5)  Sec. 423 permits sewage in drains and rivers designated as drains.
But in all the code there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY in the office of drain
commissioner for checking to see if reasonable water quality is
maintained.  That is left to DEQ which has a hands-off policy with
respect to drains.  Everyone passes the buck and the lakes fill up with

6)  HB 4803  opens the path to accelerated development by reducing the
number of people who can petition to start drain work. This provides
infrastructure for sprawl paid for by the very citizens who are fighting

to maintain their quality of life!

This bill is not in the best interests of Michigan.
It is not true that this bill is better that current law.
When this bill dies, better legislation will be written.

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