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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 11/7/03

No session on Tuesday - Veterans Day

Conference Committees

Six weeks 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 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).

On the calendar:

HB 4284 -  provides for joint planning commissions.

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.

Committee action:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee  -  The next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday (11/12) at 2:00 PM in Room 810, Farnum Building and will take up SB 833 that allows the $1 billion in bonds authorized by Proposal 2 (sewer infrastructure bond approved by the votes in November 2002) to be spent over five years instead of ten years.

Finance Committee -- will meet Wednesday (11/12) in Room 110 of the Farnum Building  to take up HB 4480, HB 4481, HB 4482, HB 4483, HB 4484, and HB 4488 regarding the establishment of land banks and clearing title on abandoned properties.

Appropriations - Subcommittee on Natural Resources will meet on Tuesday  (12/4) at 12:00 PM for an Advice and Consent hearing on Curtis Hertel, Sr., Janet Mansfield, and Carol Oakley, appointees to the Michigan State Waterways Commission and Land Management Strategy: Presentation by the Natural Resources Commission.



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.

On the calendar:

The solid waste package was reported by the House Land Use and Environment Committee on Thursday.  The Michigan Environmental Council supports the package except where noted:

HB 4296-7 - Bans cathode ray tubes from landfills starting in 2006, and from incinerators one year after the effective date of the bill.

HB 4688 - Deletes a provision in law that prohibits the disposal of out-of-county solid waste unless provided for in county solid waste management plan. The U.S. Supreme Court nullified provision as it applies to out-of-state waste.  This bill eliminates the requirement to have out-of-county waste in the solid waste management plan.  This was the closest vote, coming out 6-4.  The Michigan Environmental Council opposes the legislation.

HB 5234 - Regulates the disposal of solid waste in landfills to limit waste that does not meet our standards - similar to SB 502 as passed by the Senate -- the bill was amended to replace homogenous with reference to uniform materials or substances.

HB 5235  - Requires that solid waste haulers notify their customers of the list of banned items.

HB 5236 -  Requires voter approval for a local unit of government to impose a waste reduction fee or recycling surcharge on its residents.  The fee is actually voluntary unless approved by the voters (due to a Michigan Supreme Court decision).  The Michigan Environmental Council opposes this legislation.

HB 5237 - Limits the imposition of any recycling or waste reduction fee to actual households and not vacant property.  Amended in committee to include commercial facilities in payment of the fee.

SB 57 -  Allows the Director of the MDEQ to issue an order limited the movement of solid waste within the state or from outside the state if it poses a "substantial" health risk to Michigan residents

SB 497 -  Defines beverage container for purposes of the proposed ban.

SB 498  - Establishes a list of banned items from landfills.  The committee added three amendments:

1) New de minimis standard for beverage containers, yard waste and scrap tires.

2) An exemption for green glass -- with a task force required to make recommendations
by December 31, 2004 -- if the legislature doesn't adopt the recommendations by June 1, 2007 the exemption is removed.

3)  Another amendment was added that allows the director to make a determination that a safe, sanitary alternative disposal methods is not available for medical waste, beverage containers, scrap tires or yard waste -- allowing it to be landfilled.  SB 499  - Provides for an inspection program for Michigan landfills.

SB 500 - Increases the fines and penalties fro certain solid waste law violations without the civil infraction authority in the Senate version.  The Michigan Environmental Council opposed the removal of civil infraction authority.

SB 502  - Allows for the establishment and compilation of a list of jurisdictions that ban the same items from landfills that Michigan does. New provisions allow an individual to petition for inclusion of the "approved" list of jurisdictions on behalf of his/her jurisdiction -- ability to enforce must be comparable to our laws

SB 506 - Establishes a two year moratorium on the construction of new landfill capacity in Michigan with certain (very broad) exceptions.

SB 557 - Require landfills to report remaining capacity to the state.

SB 715 - Allows for local unit of government to assist the department in enforcement efforts.

HB 4691 was not reported out of committee --  latest substitute would have allowed locals to impose a $7 ton surcharge to fund collection of tricky items such as electronic waste, engineered plastic, food waste etc

Other bills on the calendar:

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 repair.

Upcoming committee action:

Commerce: Economic Development Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday (11/12) at 10:30 AM to take up HB 4809 to establish development incentives for neighborhood improvement districts.

Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee will meet on Wednesday (11/12) at 10:30 AM to take up HB 4896 to repeal the sunset on the taking of falcons for falconry hunting.

Local Government and Urban Policy Committee -  will meet on Monday (11/10) at 7:00 pm at Dublin Community Senior Center 685 Union Lake Road White Lake, MI 48386 to take testimony on Manufactured Housing.

Tax Policy Committee will meet on Wednesday (11/12) at 9:00 AM to take up:

HB 4702 -- Property tax; assessments; sale of certain agricultural property; exclude from sales ratio studies under certain circumstances.

Submitted by:

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