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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 9/25/03



The legislature is coming back to full speed....below is the summary:

House

Government Operations Committee -  On Thursday (9/25) the committee reported:

SB 252 - Water Pollution Discharge Fees - SB 252 (H-2) - The MDEQ budget bill authorizes $3.0 million in fees. The House substitute includes approximately $3 million in fees.  However, the bill took a bad turn when the committee included a provision that eliminates the Critical Materials Registry / Annual Wastewater Reporting program.  That program requires businesses to report their use and discharge of the 64 most toxic chemicals used in Michigan.

Illinois has recently passed water discharge fee legislation authorizing approximately $20 million in water discharge fees. Michigan is now the only Great Lakes state that does not charge for water pollution discharge permits.

The bill used the formula designed by the regulated industry (that generally has small dischargers subsidizing large ones).  The MDEQ budget adds $2.3 million in general fund -- leaving the state $1.9 million below that identified as necessary to run an adequate water protection program.

The committee delayed action on the following two bills until next Tuesday:

SB 510 - Stormwater Discharge Fees - The Senate bill concurs with the Governor's recommendation for $1.16 million in new stormwater discharge fees.

SB 560 - Groundwater Discharge Fees - The Senate bill included $1.38 million in new groundwater discharge fees.  The Governor had proposed $3.58 million in fees.  These new fees will keep this program under funded with chronic non-compliance remaining a problem.

Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee - On Wednesday (9/24) the committee reported HB 4641 and HB 4642 which will allow natural river area designation to be rescinded if a majority of the local units of government within the designated river area passed resolutions urging such an action.

Upcoming committee action:

Local Government and Urban Policy Committee -  On Tuesday (9/30) at 9:00 AM
the committee will hear a Presentation by Representatives Richardville and Jamnick on Manufactured Housing Reform Legislation.

Senate

Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee -  The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday (9/30) at 3:00 PM in Room 110, Farnum Building  3:00 PM.  On the agenda is HB 4599, SCR 13, SR 141, SB 57, SB 98, SB 497, SB 498, SB 499, SB 500, SB 502, SB 505, SB 715, SR 4, SR 12.  All the bill address the issue of solid waste management in Michigan.

The Committee will reconvene at 7:00 PM at St.Clair City Hall Council Room, 547 N. Carney Dr., St. Clair to take up SR 148 - A resolution calling for environmental officials of Canada, the United States, Michigan, and Ontario to develop stronger safeguards for notifications when spills of toxic materials occur.

Watch for additional committee meetings to be added over the weekend.
www.MichiganLegislature.org

Submitted by:

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