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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 10/31/03

Conference Committees

One month into the new fiscal year and permits to pollute are still free.  The conference committees on SB 252 and 560 took no action this week.

SB 252 - Water Pollution Discharge Fees - SB 252 - The MDEQ budget bill authorizes $3.0 million in fees. The House substitute includes approximately $3 million in fees.  However, the bill has been weakened by a provision that prevents the department from promulgating any new rules to protect water resources, exempts agricultural operations as does nothing to insure more enforcement or pollution prevention. The provision that eliminates the Critical Materials Registry / Annual Wastewater Reporting program was removed.

The Senate named Sens.McManus, Birkholz and Brater to the conference committee. The House named Reps. Koetje, Howell and Tobocman.

SB 560 - Groundwater Discharge Fees - The Senate noncurred with the House changes sending the bill to conference committee.

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 House amended the bill to provide exemptions to small businesses, non profits, agricultural facilities resulting in the bill only raising $330,000.  The bill now goes to the Senate for further action.



SB 214, SB 215, SB 226, SB 227, SB 228, SB 229.  The bills deal with the issue of penalizing and criminalizing the release of non-native fish, and genetically modified or non-native organisms into the waters of the state.

On the calendar:

SB 744 - which creates a new award program for teachers that excel in environmental education

HB 4284 -  provides for joint planning commissions.

SR 140 - encourages research into thermal depolymerization (a process can convert carbon-based items as diverse as animal processing waste, tires, and plastics into sources of energy).

Committee action:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee  -  The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday (11/4) at 3:00 PM in Room 110, Farnum Building and will take up:

SB 741 - Amends the Critical Dune Atlas to include those dunes recommended for addition that are on public lands.

SB 805-6  - Establishes a Clean Michigan Initiative revolving loan program for municipalities.

HB 4011 - Removes Sunday hunting ban in Washtenaw County.

HB4666-68 - Provides for noncontiguous open spaces to be included with a planned unit development.
HB 5027 - Revises allocations from the snowmobile trail improvement fund.

Appropriations - Subcommittee on Natural Resources will meet on Thursday (11/6) at 12:00 PM for a presentation by the Natural Resources Commission & Dept. of Natural Resources on Land Management Strategy.



HB 4666-4668 - these bill reported from the Land Use Committee amend laws regarding planned unit developments to allow the preserved open space to be non-contiguous.

On the calendar:

HB 5029  -  Adds mourning doves to the list of game and authorize natural resources commission to declare first open season.

HB 5107 - context-sensitive design for road construction and repair.

HR 88 - A resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to extend the production tax credit for wind power energy development.

Upcoming committee action:

Local Government and Urban Policy Committee -  On Monday (11/3) at 6:30 pm at Bedford Junior High School Cafeteria 8405 Jackman Road Temperance, Mi 48182 to take testimony on Manufactured Housing.  Another hearing will be held in Lansing on Tuesday (11/4) at 9:00 am to take further testimony on manufactured housing and to take up:

HB 5145 - Allows for an extension for the time frame for required connections to available public sewer line at the consent of the local unit of government and as long as the septic systems is in good

Submitted by:

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