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E-M:/ update on HB5441 - It's still bad!



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Enviro-Mich message from "Chris Grubb" <chrisgrubb@watershedcouncil.org>
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After I sent the Action Alert on House Bill 5441 this morning, I
discovered the electronic version of the bill available on the House
website was not the most recent version. The House has been busy when it
comes to weakening Michigan's wetland laws! For those who are
considering taking action on this bill, I wanted to send the most
current information. The bill no longer completely exempts driveways
from wetland regulations; instead, it trashes a fundamental component
(utilizing uplands to avoid wetland impacts) of Michigan's wetland law
and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. I've scanned and posted the most
recent version of the bill and it can be viewed at:
 
http://www.michiganwetlands.org/action_alerts/hb5441.html
 
As it stands now, House Bill 5441 would tie the DEQ's hands when
reviewing driveway applications through the General Permit process.
Under existing law, even General Permit applicants must first show they
have considered all alternatives that would have less impact on
wetlands. The bill would prevent DEQ from requiring applicants to
consider the use of alternative upland building sites on the property
that would take away the need for the proposed driveway. This
effectively cuts off one leg of the three legged stool of wetland
protection (avoid, minimize, mitigate) that is required by Michigan's
Wetland Protection Act and the Clean Water Act. And since the DEQ is
already barred from requiring mitigation on projects that qualify for
General Permits...we end up with a very shaky seating arrangement with
GPs!



Chris Grubb, Policy Associate
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
426 Bay Street
Petoskey, MI 49770
(231) 347-1181 ext. 118
fax: (231) 347-5928
email: chrisgrubb@watershedcouncil.org
www.michiganwetlands.org



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