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E-M:/ Capitol Update - June 20, 2001



Capitol Update  - June 20, 2001

Hearing Scheduled on Bill to Limit Trash Imports

The House Land Use and Environment Committee will take testimony on HB 4317 (Gieleghem) on Tuesday (6/26) in room 326 of the House Office Building.. The bill would require other states and Canada to ban the items Michigan does for health purposes, such as batteries and used oil before they could have access to our landfills and incinerators.   The bill will not be voted on at this hearing.

Budgets

Department of Environmental Quality – HB 4257 – Conference Committee met and reported out the Conference Report today (6/20).
House Conferees: Mead, Jansen, R. Brown
Senate Conferees: Bennett, Gast, DeBeaussaert

Major items of difference:

Environmental Enforcement – The House had good language that would require a report on the number of inspection being required and whether permit holders are complying with environmental protection laws or not, the Senate had weaker language.  NO REPORT WAS REQUIRED IN THE FINAL BILL.

Oil and Gas Drilling Under the Great Lakes – The Senate inserted language that will allow directional drilling to proceed, that differs from the House language.  NO LANGUAGE ON DIRECTIONAL DRILLING WAS INCLUDED IN THE BILL.

Department of Natural Resources – HB 4259  - Conference Committee met and reported out the Conference Report today (6/20).
House Conferees: Mead, Jansen, R. Brown
Senate Conferees: McManus, Gast, Koivisto

Major items of difference:

Timber Mandate – The Senate agreed with House language on timber mandate language and items to be considered.  The compromise Senate language was included in the conference committee bill.  General fund support for timber operations was replaced with $1 million from the Forest Development Fund.

Oil and Gas Drilling Under the Great Lakes – The Senate inserted language that will allow directional drilling to proceed, that differs from the House language.  NO LANGUAGE ON DIRECTIONAL DRILLING WAS INCLUDED IN THE BILL.

Transportation Budget - SB 239 - Conference Committee met and adjourned without an agreement.  May not reconvene until July 8, 2001.
Senate conferees: Senators Goschka, Hoffman and Young
House Conferees: Representatives Shackleton, Kooiman and Stallworth.
No meeting has been scheduled.

Points of difference include:

A $1.5 million appropriation to complete the Lansing to Detroit commuter rail study, a report analyzing the effectiveness of rubberized asphalt in other states, and a $6.2 million increase in local bus operating funds.

Other legislation:

Clean Air Act fees – HB 4792 – Reported by the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday (6/12).  May be taken up when the Senate returns June 26, 2001.

This legislation reauthorizes Clean Air Act fees in Michigan.  The bill would authorize Clean Air Act fees of about $11.7 million in the first years and less in each of the following years. MEC testified in opposition to the bill as failing to provide funding for a program that can assure polluters are complying with their air permits.  According to our calculations this bill will result in the Air Quality Division having to layoff around 23 employees in the next four years.

A work group of government, industry and environmental groups in October of 2000 agreed that $12.8 million was necessary to run the program.  The inadequacy of the current fee is demonstrated by the fact that the MDEQ admits that it 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.
 
 

Prepared by:

James Clift, Policy Director
Conan Smith, Land Programs Director
Dusty Fancher, Policy Specialist
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Drive Suite 2A
Lansing MI 48912
517-487-9539 ph
517-487-9541 fax
dustymec@voyager.net
www.mecprotects.org