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E-M:/ MEC Capitol Update 3-23-01 - Budgets

Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>

Capitol Update – 3-23-01 – Budgets

Budgets:  The Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality
budgets were voted out of the House Appropriations Committee on
Wednesday (3-21), then immediately taken up by the full House of
Representatives on Thursday (3-22).

Department of Environmental Quality

Environmental Enforcement – A new provision was added at MEC’s request,
requiring the department to prepare a report on environmental
enforcement.  The report will include the number of permits issued by
the department, complaints received, number of inspection conducted and
whether the inspections found compliance or noncompliance with the laws
(Sec. 1103).

Oil and Gas Drilling Below the Great Lakes Bottomlands – A number of
amendments were offered to continue a moratorium on the leasing of
bottomlands for the purpose of directional drilling for oil and gas.
Amendments were rejected to continue the ban until the department
conducted a comprehensive audit of oil and gas field operations and
compliance with environmental laws.  Supporters argued that until we
know the department can properly supervise drilling operation we should
not trust them with the sensitive coastal areas along the Great Lakes.
The House also rejected one-year extension of the moratorium.  The only
amendment that was adopted is one that allows the department to ignore
the recommendations of Michigan Environmental Science Board that they
agree with and lift the moratorium based on their own recommendations.

Department of Natural Resources

Oil and Gas Drilling Below the Great Lakes Bottomlands - The House at
first adopted a one-year extension of the moratorium, but then rejected
it when three representatives switched their votes, Rep. DeWeese
(R-Williamston), Rep. Scranton (R-Brighton) and Rep. Caul (R-Mt.
Pleasant).  The House also rejected an amendment requiring that all the
recommendations of the Governor’s Michigan Environmental Science Board
be implemented before the moratorium was lifted.  [This is the same
administration that like to says it is being guided by “sound science”.]


The transportation budget (SB 239) passed out of the Senate
Appropriations Committee, including is a $10 million increase for local
bus operating and a provision for rural dial-a-rides throughout the
state. Overall the budget increased 5.7 %, with public transportation
receiving a 1 % increase and local bus services receiving a 2.7 %

The supplemental budget (SB 283) passed the Senate Appropriation
Committee dedicating another $7.7 million to bus capitol and $6 million
to bus operating assistance. Of the $7.7 million for bus capitol, $5
million shall be used for nonfederal matching funds to buy buses for
Detroit Department of Transportation.

Prepared by:

James Clift, Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539

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