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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 2/29/04

Permits to pollute -- five months and still waiting

SB 252 -- Water Discharge Permit Fees -- On February 12th, the Senate ordered the conference committee report to be enrolled and sent to the Governor.  As of February 29th, the bill is still in possession of the Senate and has not been sent to the Governor.  Hopefully, that means discussions are still occurring and unrelated issues (administrative rule authority) may be resolved separately.

The bill, working off the House version, transferred about $75,000 (out of a total of $3 million) in the proposed fees onto municipal sources (a $40,000 increase to the Detroit Water Utility).   The provision which makes the bill unacceptable to the department (and have resulted in Governor Granholm saying she will veto the bill),  requires that the MDEQ receive prior legislative authority before writing any new administrative rules.

The Democrats on the committee did not sign the conference report (Brater and Tobocman).  The Senate passed it 21-17 (along party lines except that Sen. Sanborn voted against the conference report), that House approved it 55-46 (with five Republicans voting against it -- Brandenburg, Gaffney, LaSata, Hune and Stewart).

Groundwater Program within weeks of being declared defunct -- water resources will suffer

SB 560 - Groundwater Discharge Fees - The Governor had proposed $3.58 million in fees.  The Senate bill included $1.38 million in new groundwater discharge fees.   The House amended the bill to provide exemptions to small businesses, non profits, agricultural facilities resulting in the bill only raising $330,000 (an insufficient amount to run the program).  This bill is still in conference the the program has no funding.



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.

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.  On the positive side, the bill was expanded to include solid waste incinerators.  Amendments that Michigan Environmental Council opposed include:

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)  A provision 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 for 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.

On the calendar:

SB 217 - The bill to amend the drain code was reported from the Agriculture Committee.

HB 4098 - Earlier version of a bill to require other states and provinces to meet Michigan standards to have access to our landfills (see SB 502 and HB 5234).

HB 4099 - A different version of a bill to ban the disposal of beverage containers from Michigan landfills (see SB 497 and SB 498).

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

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.  The bill was amended to not require a county to site a new landfill if there was sufficient capacity within 150 miles.

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)

In committee:

Senate Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs is scheduled to meet on Tuesday (3/2) at 3:00 PM to take up the following bills:

SB 111 -  Require state parks to post at park entrances whether or not hunting or firearm usage is allowed within the state park.

SB 759 - Requires the Department of Natural Resources programs to include information on fueling techniques and problems associated with marine fuel spills in marine safety courses.

HB 4352 - Prohibits snowmobiles from using  red or blue colored headlight lens caps.

The committee will also hear a presentation on low-level radioactive waste in Michigan given by Thor M. Strong

Energy and Technology will meet Wednesday (2/18) at 3:00 pm for a  discussions on Public Act 141 of 2000, Electric Restructuring

Senate Appropriation Subcommittees:

Environmental Quality  will meet on Wednesdays (2/25, 3/3, 3/10 and 3/17) at 12:00 Noon to take action on the FY 2004-05 Budget for the Department of Environmental Quality  This week  Overview of the Permitting Process.

Natural Resources will meet on Tuesdays (2/24, 3/2, 3/9 and 3/16) at 12:00 Noon
to take action on the FY 2004-05 Budget for the Department of Natural Resources.  This week -- Payments in Lieu of Taxes



SB 703 -- Expands the types of flotation devices children age 12 and under must wear when riding on or being towed behind a personal watercraft to include type III (lower standard than currently in place in Michigan, making us consistent with U.S. Coast guard standards.

HB 5427 -- clarify licensing; licensing and inspection requirements for certain antique firearms.
HB 5428 -- clarify inspection requirements for certain antique firearms

HB 5429 -- clarify licensing requirements for certain antique firearms

HB 4929 -- Requires privately owned wastewater treatment facilities protection and   disclosure procedures for discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage.

On the calendar:

SB 510 -- a bill to establish stormwater fees (could be used to amend the same sections as SB 252 that may be vetoed by the Governor).

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.

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

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

In committee:

Agriculture and Resource Management will meet on Tuesday (3/2) at 10:30 AM to take up:

HB 5552 -- Changes membership of the forest finance authority to give control to the forest product industry and allows for specialty uses of the forest development fund including payments in lieu of taxes.

HB 5553 -- Allows for forest pilot project areas.

HB 5554 -- which calls for sustainable forestry, the creation of forest plans and certification programs.  The bills also requires the plan to include annual goals for harvested acres to be established by the forest products industry.

Agriculture and Resource Management: Forestry and Mineral Rights Subcommittee will meet on Tuesday (3/9) at 9:00 am to take up HB 5324 -- That amends Part 631 to specifically defines underground mining to clarify jurisdiction over new proposed mining activities in reactive ore bodies.

Appropriation Subcommittee Meetings:

Transportation will meet on Tuesday (3/2) at 8:00 AM to review the  FY 2004-05 Transportation Budget - and take public testimony

Submitted by:

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