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E-M:/ state representative calls for tougher environmental enforcement

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>

CONTACT: Rep. Chris Kolb
517) 373-2577

Rep. Kolb Renews Call for Legislation to
Strengthen State’s Environmental Enforcement

	LANSING – In the wake of a new report by the Michigan Environmental Council
that outlines the state’s lax enforcement for environmental violations,
State Representative Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) today renewed his call for the
Michigan House of Representatives to pass his legislation that strengthens
enforcement and provides more information to the public.

	“My legislation prevents polluters from benefiting from their
noncompliance,” said Kolb, ranking Democrat on the House Land Use and
Environment Committee. “Polluters also would be banned from receiving state
contracts and clean companies would be rewarded for their compliance.”

	House Bill 4996 also requires inspections and monitoring programs for the
different industries regulated by the state. Kolb said at least half the
inspections would be unannounced and include independent sampling and
analysis by the DEQ.

	 “The violations highlighted in the MEC report clearly show that the
environmental reform of the 1970s and 1980s has been push aside for the
‘voluntary compliance’ of the 1990s,” Kolb said. “Today, we are paying the
price. The public health of our communities is being placed in jeopardy
because of the failure by the DEQ to enforce our pollution discharge laws."”

	Kolb said the legislation also provides the public with more access to
information about violators and the permitting process in the Department of
Environmental Quality. The legislation also makes public information
regarding permit and license violations. The DEQ would be
required to publish a list of violators who during the past five years have
been determined by the department or courts to have committed two or more
significant permit or license violations.
“When the DEQ and DNR were split into two departments in the mid-1990s, we
lost a lot of the citizen oversight into the workings of these departments,”
Kolb said. “My bill requires full disclosure by the DEQ of its enforcement
program. It will require the department to keep a complete enforcement
database and issue an annual enforcement report.”

	Kolb said the MEC report was filled with incidents of lax enforcement by
the DEQ.
“Every Michigan resident who cares about our state’s environmental health
should read this report and demand reform of the DEQ,” Kolb said. “I commend
the MEC and their supporting organizations for the time and effort that went
into compiling this report.”


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