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E-M:/ MEC Capitol Update - 5/22/03



Senate

HB 4257 – Emergent Coastal Wetland - The Senate passed on a vote of 38-0 legislation that will regulate activities in the bottomlands of the Great Lakes.  Lakefront property owners will be able to continue to groom a path 6 feet wide for the purpose of access.  A new pilot program will allow the removal of vegetation in areas that that are predominantly sand or rock beach, or non-native or invasive species.  The department will also be able consider former use of the property, but ignore it if the area has significant wildlife value.

Committee activity:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee met jointly with the House Land Use and Environmental on the issue of out-of-state trash in Northville on Wednesday (5/28).  The last of this series of three hearings will take place on Tuesday (6/3) in Lansing (Senate Hearing Room, Boji Tower).

Budget Hearings -  The subcommittee on Environmental Quality and Natural Resources is expected to report proposed budgets this week. The Budget both still contain substantial cuts that will significant impact department programs.

MDNR – Tuesday (6/3), at 12:00 noon.
MDEQ – Wednesday (6/4), at 3:00 pm

NPDES Permit Fee Workgroup – Wednesday (6/4) at 8:00 am – This workgroup is working on a user fee proposal to operate the water pollution discharge program.  The Governor’s budget proposes $7.2 million in NPDES permit fees to make up for budget shortfalls.

House of Representatives

House Appropriation Subcommittee on Environmental Quality will hold a hearing on Tuesday (6/3) on Permits and the Use of Restrictive Funds

Land Use & Environment - Joint meeting with the Senate committee - see above

House Appropriation Subcommittee - Transportation - SB 265 -
Members of the Michigan Land Use and Transportation Coalition came to
Lansing Tuesday to voice support for a fix-it-first road repair agenda and
for fully funding transit. MOSES, EZEKIEL, MLUI, MEC, PIRGIM, UCP, Scenic
Michigan, WMEAC, TRU, the city of Ferndale, and the Michigan Suburbs
Alliance all attended and participated in testifying and meeting with
lawmakers.

Governor Granholm's "Preserve First" agenda for transportation
infrastructure--long a priority of Michigan environmental and Smart Growth
advocates--has come under attack during the last few weeks from Republican
legislators.  The program as forwarded by MDOT Director Jeff would defer
construction on major wasteful road projects including I-75, I-94, and I-375
in Detroit, the Grand Haven Bypass, and dozens of others, with funding
instead being directed toward maintenance of existing roads and bridges.

The Senate included an amendment to the MDOT budget bill on a promise to restore all 34 new-and-wider road projects, but the house did not concur in the decision.

The next meeting is June 3rd at 8:30 am.

DARTA - After months of legislative roadblocks and dead ends, the elected leaders of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and the City of Detroit decided to come
together to create their own version of the Detroit Area Regional Transit
Authority.  Robert Ficano and L. Brooks Patterson, the executives of Wayne
and Oakland counties, Nancy White, the chairwoman of the Macomb County Board
of Commissioners and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are all involved with
crafting the agreement.

The original DARTA legislation took nearly two years to craft. Gov. John
Engler vetoed the bill in December. Legislation failed again this year when
controversial language was added making it easier for communities to opt
out.

Submitted by:

James Clift
Conan Smith
Brad Garmon
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539