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E-M:/ MDEQ revises Clean Michigan Program

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>



In November 1998, voters approved the Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI). This 
initiative authorized the sale of $675 million in tax-exempt bonds for 
various public health, environmental protection, and recreation purposes. 
In July 1998, the Legislature passed implementing legislation for the CMI, 
1998 PA 288, which set forth how the $675 million would be allocated if 
approved by the voters. This law indicates that $335 million of the $675 
million will be used for:

1.      Response actions at contaminated properties to promote redevelopment.
2.      Response actions at contaminated properties to address public 
health and environmental problems.
3.      Assessment activities to determine if a property is contaminated.
4.      Grants and loans to local units of government for environmental 
response activities at properties with redevelopment potential.
5.      Grants to local units of government which owned or operated a 
municipal solid waste landfill on, or nominated for, the federal Superfund 
National Priorities List.

Section 19608(7) of the NREPA states that before submitting the first cycle 
of projects under these categories to the Legislature for funding, the 
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) shall publish and 
disseminate the criteria it will use in evaluating and recommending these 
projects for funding. The original criteria were published on March 1, 
1999, and again on August 30, 1999. Based on the DEQ's experience to date, 
it determined that the criteria could likely be improved. As part of the 
Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 site nomination process, every county, city, village, 
and township was asked to review the existing criteria and to suggest 
improvements. Suggestions were also solicited from the Michigan Economic 
Development Corporation (MEDC) and a real estate firm on contract with 
them. These revised criteria are the result of the input received from this 

The following criteria are being published to fulfill the previously 
described statutory requirement. The criteria will be effective on the date 

A.      Projects Undertaken Pursuant to Part 213, Leaking Underground 
Storage Tanks, and Part 201, Environmental Remediation, of NREPA to Promote 

* Redevelopment and Job Creation/Investment Potential:
Sites will be evaluated on their likelihood to be redeveloped, including 
the potential to create jobs, the nature of the jobs likely to be created, 
and the amount of private investment likely to occur once remediation is 
complete. Ten primary factors will be used to evaluate these criteria:
1. Property Location - Is the site near a market center, near suppliers, in 
an area with an adequate work force?
2. Access/Exposure - Is the site visible from or have access to an 
interchange, highway, or major road?
3. Zoning - Is the zoning classification of the property industrial, 
commercial, or residential? Industrially zoned property will generally be 
ranked higher than commercially zoned property because industrial jobs are 
usually higher paying, and commercially zoned property will generally be 
ranked higher than residential because residential development usually does 
not create permanent jobs. Is the municipality willing to change the zoning 
to make the site more attractive to redevelopment?
4. Size of the Parcel - Larger sites will generally be viewed more 
favorably than smaller sites because they tend to allow for greater 
redevelopment flexibility and are capable of accommodating more investment.
5. Utilities - Are all utilities readily available at the site, including 
water, sewer, natural gas, electric, and fiber optics?
6. Improvements - Will any existing structures remain that will add value 
and market desirability in the redevelopment process?
7. Other Amenities - Does the site have rail service or a natural 
characteristic that may create a higher potential for redevelopment; i.e., 
water frontage?
8. Marketable Title - Could the site be sold to a new user/developer 
without clouds on the title? Does the site have easements, encroachments, 
restrictions, or covenants that would interfere with its redevelopment?
9. Adjoining Uses - Are the site's surrounding uses compatible with the 
most likely redevelopment? Are surrounding uses compatible from a zoning 
10. Economic Data - Is the site contained within a current renaissance zone 
or is the municipal tax structure favorable for redevelopment? Is the 
municipality prepared to offer any incentive to redevelop the site?

* Cost of Response Activity:
The estimated cost to complete the response activities necessary to 
facilitate redevelopment will be evaluated in relation to the job creation 
and private investment likely to occur on the site. Sites with favorable 
cost-benefit ratios will generally be given preference over sites with 
lower cost-benefit ratios.

* Ability to Implement:
The DEQ's goal is to generally only request funds for response actions 
which can be completed within 18 months of receiving an appropriation from 
the Legislature. Therefore, initially sites owned by the state of Michigan 
or a local unit of government will be given a higher priority than 
privately owned sites. Privately owned sites often have access and 
liability issues that must be resolved before work can commence. Once these 
issues have been thoroughly evaluated and resolved, a privately owned site 
will receive the same consideration as a publicly owned site.

* Geographic Distribution of Projects:
The DEQ will strive to assure all areas of the state benefit from the 
program. Cost-benefit and redevelopment potential, however, will be the 
controlling factors in site selection. Sites will not be selected or funds 
allocated exclusively on the basis of population density or geographic 

* Community Priority:
Many communities have recommended sites to the DEQ for CMI funding to 
conduct response actions necessary to facilitate redevelopment. Significant 
consideration will be given to the sites recommended by communities, and if 
multiple sites were recommended, to the priority assigned by the community.

B.      Projects to Address Public Health and Environmental Problems

The nature and extent of the human health problem, the nature and extent of 
the environmental problem, and response cost vs. expected benefit will be 
evaluated. Response actions and funding priorities will be based on the 
degree of risk reduction that can be accomplished by a project. Projects 
that provide greater risk reduction per dollar expended will have higher 
priority. All unacceptable contamination-related exposures at a site will 
not necessarily be remediated. The goals of this programmatic element will 
be: (1) accomplish the greatest amount of public health and environmental 
benefit with each dollar expended; and (2) assure if response actions are 
terminated at a site short of completing a comprehensive remedy, the 
environmental and public health benefits derived from the response actions 
taken will not be lost.

Sites with extremely high response activity costs may be nominated to the 
federal Superfund program for action to optimize the benefit of available 
state resources.

C.      Assessments to Determine if Property is Contaminated

Three types of assessments will be recommended for funding. The first is an 
assessment where the presence of a release would pose a serious threat to 
public health (i.e., a suspected release on property in a municipal 
wellhead protection area). The second is an evaluation of a suspected 
release which could impact an important, sensitive natural resource (i.e., 
a suspected toxicant release in close proximity to a high-quality trout 
stream). The third is an assessment to facilitate a significant 
redevelopment project.

D.      Grants and Loans

Grants for response actions at contaminated properties with redevelopment 
potential will be evaluated and issued using the same criteria currently 
being used for site reclamation and site assessment grants under the 1988 
Environmental Bond program with the addition that demolition of a dangerous 
or functionally obsolete structure that impedes redevelopment may be 
considered an eligible activity.

E.      Municipal Landfill Cost-Share Grants

The CMI funds for this purpose will be allocated using the criteria 
established under Section 20109a of the NREPA and policies adopted by the 
Brownfield Redevelopment Board.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will not 
discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, 
religion, age, national origin, color, marital status, disability, or 
political beliefs.  Questions or concerns should be directed to the MDEQ 
Office of Personnel Services, PO Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909.

Ruth N. Hartwig
Environmental Assistance Division
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
PO Box 30457
Lansing, MI  48909-7957
Phone:  517-373-0347
Fax:  517-335-4729
E-mail:  hartwigr@state.mi.us

Alex J. Sagady & Associates  http://my.voyager.net/~ajs/sagady.pdf

Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste/Community Environmental Protection

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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