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Re: E-M:/ Groundwater Fees

Enviro-Mich message from "Ari B. Adler" <abadler@yahoo.com>

For Immediate Release-March 30, 2004	
Contact: Bill Nowling (517) 373-5899 or Amanda Price
(517) 373-3447
Senate Sends Governor Bill To Keep Michigan Waters

Legislation creates permits fees to manage water
discharge program

LANSING - The Michigan Senate today approved
legislation that will help protect the state’s
freshwater resources by requiring water discharge
permit holders to pay an annual fee to administer the
program, announced Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema
and Sen. Patty Birkholz, Natural Resources and
Environmental Affairs Committee chairperson.

The legislation, which now goes to the governor’s desk
for signature, creates the National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System Fund. It requires water
discharge permit holders to submit an application fee
and pay an annual permit fee based in part on
Environmental Protection Agency designations.

“Establishing new fees is never easy but the money is
needed to continue the current pollution clean-up
programs,” said Sikkema, R-Wyoming. “This is another
important step in protecting our state’s natural
resources that was recommended in the Great Lakes Task
Force Report.”

Money left in the NPDES Fund at the close of the
fiscal year would remain in the fund and not lapse to
the general fund. The Department of Environmental
Quality would be allowed to spend money from the fund,
upon appropriation, only for administration of the
NPDES program. 

“We worked hard on this legislation and I feel we have
reached a reasonable compromise,” said Birkholz,
R-Saugatuck Twp. “Requiring permit fees will allow the
programs to be funded partially by the users and
partially by the General Fund. I’d like to thank the
business, agricultural and industrial communities for
their suggestions and input on this legislation, as
well as my Senate colleagues who helped resolve this

The NPDES was established in 1972 under the federal
Clean Water Act as the primary tool for controlling
water pollution. Unlike other states, Michigan
currently does not assess fees for issuing NPDES
permits. With this legislation, Michigan now joins the
list of states that receive significant funding for
various water quality programs from NPDES permits.


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