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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 1/26/04

The legislature has returned -- and, permits to pollute our waters are still free in Michigan -- four months into the fiscal year.

Water Discharge Permits - The bills are still stuck in conference committee thanks to Senator McManus and Representative Koetje.

SB 252 - Water Pollution Discharge Fees - - 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 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 753 - establish Childhood Lead Poison Commission

SB 755 - report lead test results to DCH

SB 756 - establish lead-safe housing registry

SB 757 - penalty for knowingly renting lead-contaminated property

Pending under messages from the House:

SB 506 - Places a two-year moratorium on the construction of new landfill space.

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

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.  The bills was tie-barred to HB 5234.

On the calendar:

SB 532 and SB 533-- anti-littering legislation

SB 853  -- Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-river program

SB 854 - creates statewide recycling coordinator position

SB 855 - Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-shoreline program

SB 856 - Requires the state to conduct a comprehensive study on littering and create a marketing program to reduce litter

SB 857 - Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-trail program

SB 858 - Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-park program

SB 860 - Establishes a 1-800 number for reporting littering violations

SB 861 - Sets statewide goals for recycling rates (30% by 2009, 50% by 2014)

SB 653 - The bill removes the sunset on the baseline environmental assessment fee.

In committee:

Senate Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs is scheduled to meet on Tuesday (1/27) at 11:00 AM or later immediately following Session to hold an  Advice & Consent Hearing on Mr. Dave Dempsey, appointed to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Board

Appropriations: Natural Resources is scheduled to meet on Tuesday (2/10) at 12:00 PM
to hold an Advice and Consent hearing on Mary Brown and Gerald Hall, Jr., appointees to the Natural Resources Commission.


On the calendar:

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

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

Other bill on the calendar:

HB 5312 -- allows hunters to donate an additional $1.00 when purchasing hunting or fishing licensing to support the sportsmen against hunger program

HB 5023 -- Allows free access to state parks for individuals who served in the Iraqi Freedom War

SB 193 -- Provides for a  specialty license plates for ducks unlimited

HB 4880 -  Creates an annual specific tax to be levied on every owner of qualified manufactured housing property.  The tax would increase from $45 to $144 over a five and one-half year period.  Currently owners of mobile homes pay an annual fee of $36.

HB 4111 -- Makes complementary amendments to the General Property Tax Act, to reflect the creation of the new specific tax act on manufactured homes and the repeal of the Mobile Home Park Act.

In committee:

Judiciary will meet on Tuesday (1/27) at 2:30 pm to testimony on:

HB 5115 -- Provides for a civil action and penalties for landlords who repeatedly rent housing units without abating known lead hazards.

Submitted by:

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