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E-M:/ News Release: Polluter Pay Victory Applauded

Friday, April 02, 2004                                  
More Information:
Cyndi Roper

Victory On Polluter Fees Hailed!
House Action Moves Michigan Toward Ending Subsidies

LANSING, MI--Clean Water Action today applauded Michigan lawmakers for approving $3 million in first-ever Clean Water Act polluter fees, calling it a significant first step toward ending taxpayer support for pollution of Michigan’s lakes, rivers and streams.

“To the Granholm administration, along with the bill’s chief sponsors, Sen. Liz Brater and Rep. Andy Meisner, and especially the more than 50,000 Clean Water Action supporters who wrote cards, letters, emails and made phone calls on this issue over the past two years, we say ‘thank you, thank you’ for making this happen,” said Cyndi Roper, Clean Water Action Michigan Director. 

“To others who stood up for Michigan’s waters and demonstrated real leadership--particularly Representatives Jack Brandenberg, Ed Gaffney and Steve Tobocman--we applaud your courage and commitment.” 

With yesterday’s 74-31 House vote on Senate Bill 252, the bill to fund the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System program now goes to Governor Granholm for her signature.  The measure had earlier passed the Senate following a compromise deal between Granholm and Republican leaders over the administration’s rulemaking authority.

The House vote capped a two-year long legislative campaign on the polluter fee issue by Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, West Michigan Environmental Action Council, PIRGIM, Michigan Environmental Council, and the League of Conservation Voters, as well as other groups.

With the governor’s anticipated signature, SB 252 begins shifting support for the state’s pollution permit system away from taxpayers and toward polluting industries and other facilities. The $3 million in funds raised through the permit system, however, still leaves the program seriously underfunded, said Roper.

“We need to eventually eliminate taxpayer subsidies for pollution permits and shift the system toward pollution prevention,” said Roper.  “It makes no sense to continue subsidies for polluting industries when so much more could be done to provide incentives for industry to stop polluting our Great Lakes and other waterways.”