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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 10/06/03



House

The House passed HB 4641 and HB 4642 which will allow a natural river area designation to be rescinded if a majority of the local units of government within the designated river area passed resolutions urging such an action.

The House has on its calendar the following three fees bill needed to fund the budget passed by the legislature this summer:

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.

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. The (H-5) version of the bill penanlizes the department for failure to issue permits within 180 days. 

Upcoming committee action:

Land Use and Environment Committee will meet on Wednesday (10/8) at 2:00 PM or after House session to take testimony only on HB 4666-4668 regarding planned unit developments and whether open space needs to be contiguous. 
     
Agriculture and Resource Management Committee will meet Tuesday (10/7) at 10:30 am to take up HB 4608 which allows drain commissioners to record nonconforming unrecorded easements held by drain commissioners.

Local Government and Urban Policy Committee -  On Tuesday (10/7) at 9:00 AM
the committee will hear a Presentation by Representatives Richardville and Jamnick on Manufactured Housing Residents Rights.

Senate

Upcoming committee meetings:

Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee -  The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday (10/7) at 3:00 PM in Room 110, Farnum Building.  Scheduled for voting are SB 57, SB 98, SB 497, SB 498, SB 499, SB 500, SB 502, SB 505, SB 506, SB 557, SB 715, SR 4, SR 12.  All the bill address the issue of solid waste management in Michigan.  The bill will require that jurisdictions that send trash to Michigan meet our standards.  The bills also add beverage containers and whole scrap tires to the list of items banned in Michigan landfills.

Appropriations- Natural Resources Subcommittee - will meet on Wednesday at noon to hear a presentation by the Dept. of Natural Resources on state restricted funds

Transportation Committee will meet on Tuesday (10/7) at 1:00 pm for a presentation by Dept. of Transportation Director Gloria Jeff on the future of Michigan's roads.

Submitted by:

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