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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 6/30/04



Title:
MDEQ Budget Conference Committee Named

Senate - Senators McManus, Goschka, Barcia
House - Representatives Pastor, Moolenaar, Brown

SB 1066 -- MDEQ Budget - fiscal year 2004-05, the House approved a budget for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) that reinstated the Hazardous Waste Management Program, but retained reductions in staffing levels by 8%, and reduces general fund support for the department by 15%. 

The bill also includes $800,000 to pay for a dioxin bio-availability study using Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) funding (1998 bond approved by the voters for contamination cleanups). 

The authorizing language for spending CMI  states:

(e) That the responsibility for the cost of response activities pertaining to a release or threat of release and repairing injury, destruction, or loss to natural resources caused by a release or threat of release should not be placed upon the public except when funds cannot be collected from, or a response activity cannot be undertaken by, a person liable under this part.

(f) That liability for response activities to address environmental contamination should be imposed upon those persons who are responsible for the environmental contamination.

The use of CMI money to pay for a study to benefit the Dow Chemical Company is an inappropriate use of those funds - and breaks a promise to voters who supported the CMI bonds.

At the same time, no new sites of environmental contamination are being addressed by the state due to budget shortfalls.

Contact the conferees, tell them to:

1) Restore the 15% cut
2) Remove language requiring a 8% staff reduction
3) Delete bio-availability study (section 703).

Contact information:

Sen. McManus:
http://www.senate.michigan.gov/ima_form.asp?name=COMMENT35&form_path=c:/webforms/rep

Sen. Goschka:
senmgoschka@senate.michigan.gov

Sen. Barcia:
SenJBarcia@senate.michigan.gov

Rep. Pastor:
johnpastor@house.mi.gov

Rep. Moolenaar:
johnmoolenaar @house.mi.gov

Rep. Brown:
richbrown@house.mi.gov

Submitted by James Clift
Michigan Environmental Council