[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 3/5/04



Trash bills move (see below)

Permits to pollute -- five months and still waiting

SB 252 -- Water Discharge Permit Fees -- The word is -- the Governor and the legislative leader are talking.  Three weeks after passage, the bill is still in possession of the Senate and has not been sent to the Governor.  It is unclear how the issue of administrative rule authority may be resolved.

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.  Director Chester testified before the Senate budget hearing this week that within three weeks the program would be suspended.  Current permits would be valid -- but no modifications or new permits would be processed.

Water Legacy Act Unveiled

The Governor unveiled her Water Legacy Act at a press conference on Tuesday.  The bill would phase-in the permitting of major water users, starting at 2 million gallons a day (or 100 million gallons per year).  The bill would also require permitting of any facility having an "adverse impact" on the waters of the state or water-dependant natural resources -- with the ability for the department to place conditions on such withdrawals to minimize or eliminate impacts.  After five years, all withdrawals over 100,000 gallons a day would require a permit.  Water users will also be required to prepare and implement reasonable water conservation measures.  The bill will be sponsored by Sen. Brater and Rep. Kolb.

Senate

Passed:

The Senate passed the solid waste package this week, including:

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

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.  The bill includes amendments that:

1) Provide for the disposal of a de minimis standard for beverage containers, yard waste and scrap tires.

2) An exemption for green glass until June 1, 2007 -- with a task force required to make recommendations by December 31, 2004.

3)  A provision that allows the director to make a recommendation to the legislature if the department does not believe that a safe, sanitary alternative disposal methods is available for an items of waste currently banned.

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.

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

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.

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

On the calendar:

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

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.

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).

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 (3/9) at 3:00 PM to take up the following bills:

HB 5194 -- A bill to allow for by mail-in absentee ballot for the election of the directors of the conservation district.

SB 977 -- A bill to establish pollution; water pollution reporting protocol under part 31.

SR 214 -- A resolution to urge the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Office of the Great Lakes to work with the EPA Great Lakes National Program Office to develop a pilot project to provide real-time monitoring of water quality for Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.

Energy and Technology will meet Wednesday (3/10) at 3:00 pm for a  discussions on Public Act 141 of 2000, Electric Restructuring

Senate Appropriation Subcommittees:

Environmental Quality  will meet on Wednesdays (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  they will take up Environmental Cleanup Projects and the State Revolving Fund with committee recommendation expected the following week.

Natural Resources will meet on Tuesdays (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 -- Other Issues & Enabling Legislation with committee action expected next week.

House

Pending under messages form the Senate:

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.

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

Passed:

The House was not in session this week.

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 (3/9) 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.

Great Lakes and Tourism Committee will meet on Thursday (3/11) at 11:00 AM or after committees are given leave by the House to meet, whichever time is later, to take up HB 5377 - a bill to create Great Lakes recreational diving preserves, and to take testimony on HB 5439 -- a bill to create a Michigan port authority along with a board to oversee its operations.

Land Use and Environment will meet on Wednesday (3/10) at 2:00 PM or after committees are given leave by the House to meet, whichever time is later to take up HB 5206 -- a bill to allow a city to be eligible to create a brownfield redevelopment authority if it has an abandoned landfills larger than 140 acres within its boundaries.

Transportation will meet on Thursday (3/11) at 9:00 AM for a presentation by Gloria Jeff, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) regarding Transportation Funding and to take up:

HR 198 --  A resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to establish a minimum rate of return of 95 percent of Michiganís federal transportation funding for highway and transit programs.

HB 5491 A bill to name potions of I-94, US-131, and I-69 the "Underground Railroad Memorial Highway".

Appropriation Subcommittee Meetings:

Agriculture will meet on Thursday (3/11) at 8:00 AM to review the  FY 2004-05 Agriculture Budget - and take public testimony

Transportation will meet on Tuesday (3/9) 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
www.mecprotects.org