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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 11/15/03

The legislature will be on break until December 2nd.

Conference Committees

Seven 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.



HB 4284 -  provides for joint planning commissions.

HB 4666-68 - Provides for noncontiguous open spaces to be included with a planned unit development.

SB 805-6  - Establishes a Clean Michigan Initiative grant and revolving loan program for municipalities and reallocates $75 million in authorized bond money for those purposes.

SB 833  - 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.

HB 4011 - Removes Sunday hunting ban in Washtenaw County.

HB 5027 - Revises allocations from the snowmobile trail improvement fund.

On the calendar:

HB 4480, HB 4481, HB 4482, HB 4483, HB 4484, and HB 4488 -  establishes land banks and delineates a procedure for clearing title on abandoned properties.

Committee action:

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.



SB 805-6  - Establishes a Clean Michigan Initiative grant and revolving loan program for municipalities and reallocates $75 million in authorized bond money for those purposes.

HB 4296 - Bans cathode ray tubes from landfills starting in 2006.

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

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

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

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.

HB 4896 to repeal the sunset on the taking of falcons for falconry hunting.

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 4297 - Bans cathode ray tubes 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 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 715 - Allows for local unit of government to assist the department in enforcement efforts.

Other bill on the calendar:

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