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E-M:/ Action Alert - Clean Air Act Fee bill to result in severe program cuts



The House of Representatives today rejected amendments designed to improve HB 4792 that will reauthorize Clean Air Act fees. The bill as currently written (and supported by the Engler administration) will result in 23 layoffs of MDEQ Air Quality Division staff by 2005. This is extremely bad news for a a division of the MDEQ that admits it already has insufficient resources to run a credible enforcement program to protect public health.

The inadequacy of the current fee is demonstrated by the fact that the MDEQ does not even visit every “major” air pollution source once each year and rarely conducts an inspection that can determine whether a facility is in compliance with its permit.

The currently language also rejects the findings of the The Air Quality Fee Task Force Report, agreed to by representatives of the MDEQ, the regulated community and environmental groups (October, 2000).  The conclusion of the task force regarding fees was:

“If the general fund level of support for Michigan’s air quality program is maintained at least at its current level, Michigan’s Title V and NSR [New Source Review] programs will be adequately funded in FY 02 through FY 07, provided the fee revenue is maintained at $12.8 million for each year 2002 through 2007.”
The current bill will raise approximately $11.7 million in 2002, and drop to $9.5 million by 2005.

The Michigan Environmental Council urges Michigan citizens to contact their Representatives and urge them to oppose this legislation as written. A final vote in the House of Representatives could come as early as Wednesday (6/6).
 

Prepared by:

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