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

I don's usually post - but this legislative battle is critical to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem, especially since air deposition is the major way toxins get into the Great Lakes.   Please call your state rep ASAP and tell him/her that we need adequate funding for the MDEQ air quality program. $12.8 million for each year 2002 through 2007 is the figure the advisory committee settled on after careful review of MDEQ's past air quality budget.

Earlier, industry reps balked at paying their fair share to have an adequately staffed Air Quality management program. Industry's strategy was to pay lower fees (based on tons of pollutants they emit) into the program and then go to the legislature for corporate welfare to get enough money so they could get their pollution permits in a timely fashion. When there are budget shortfalls, the permitting program seems to gets its money first, so that business can continue to operate.  The state shortchanges the enforcement and compliance monitoring programs, which tend to benefit citizens more than industry.  Indeed, those industries that cut corners on compliance are always happy to see less enforcement.

The proposed shrinking budget will result in the loss of 23 full time employees by 2005.  The loss of enforcement clout in Lansing is significantly more important since Wayne County has decided to close Air Quality Management Division because there has been inadequate state funding for the county program.  These two developments will leave local enforcement efforts in Southeast Michigan SEVERELY under-resourced.

Call today and say that for the sake of Michigan's children and the Great Lakes Air shed, the DEQ program needs the full amount of $12.8 million for each year 2002 through 2007.” I participated in writing the report that the legislature is ignoring.  It's time to get their attention.

please take time to contact your Legislator,- for those in Grosse Pointe that's probably Andrew Richner - 313.822.1595 or 517.3k73.0154. his email is
arichner @house.state.mi.us.

karen Kendrick-Hands
Resent-Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 16:09:37 -0400
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 16:24:17 -0400
From: James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>

Subject: Action Alert - Clean Air Act Fee bill to result in severe program cuts
Sender: owner-member@www.mienv.org
Resent-From: member@www.mienv.org

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

Karen D. Kendrick-Hands, President
Transportation Riders United
1067 Devonshire Road
Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
313.885.7588, fax 313.885.7883
Check out TRU's web page at http://www.marp.org/tru.htm
Try the Motranzit site, too - http://www.hometown.aol.com/motranzit
Also check out www.transitdetroit.freeservers.com &
If you don't ask the right questions, you will never get to the right answers . . .