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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update -7/27/04

The Legislative is not scheduled to return until Wednesday (8/4).  They may also meet on Thursday and Friday of that week.

Electrical Deregulation package scheduled for a hearing on August 4th.

No actions scheduled on budgets yet.

Conference Committees

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  (MCLA 324.20102) 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.

MDEQ Budget Conference Committee Named - Senate - Senators McManus, Goschka, Barcia -
House - Representatives Pastor, Moolenaar, Brown

SB 1068 -- MDNR Budget for fiscal year 2004-05 - The House version removes travel cuts made by the Senate, removed timber cut mandate language and returned to a version closer to that recommended by the administration. Senate conferees: Sens.McManus, Johnson, Barcia - House conferees - Reps. Pastor, Walker and Brown



On the calendar:

Recycling bills:

SB 790 – Establishes the recycling advisory council.  The Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee reported SB 790 on Tuesday.   The council would "study" the issue some more including whether to "change" the bottle bill.  The Michigan Environmental Council thinks this area has been "studied" enough - and would rather see "action" to fund recycling programs or expand the bottle bill.

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 Energy and Technology
will meet on Wednesday (8/4) to take up SB 1331-1336 regarding the regulation of electrical margets.  Bills also address energy efficiency and renewable energy.



HB 6074 -  This bill extends the sunset on the regulatory fee (7/8 of one cent on each gallon of gasoline) used to fund the cleanup of underground storage tanks. This fee would raise about $60 million a year.  A portion of the money in the first year could be used to help balance the budget.

The state estimates that overall there are around 9000 tanks that still need to be cleaned up -- in many cases threatening drinking water across the state.  Of those 4200 are orphan (no viable responsible party) - which will cost in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion to remediate.  

HB 5870 – Implements HJR Z to constitutionally protect conservation funds if approved by the voters.

HJR Z – Would place before the voters a constitutional amendment to protect conservation related restricted funds – thereby preventing the legislature from using those funds for other purposes.

HB 5055 -
Limits the collection of fees under the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control provisions of NREPA to those instances in which a permit is required.

HB 6047 - Amends the joint planning act to clarify that every municipality that participates in joint planning is not required to allow every use authorized within the joint plan within its borders as long as the use is provided for somewhere within the joint plan.

On the calendar:

SB 757 -
This bill places penalties on landloads that fail to remediate known lead paint hazards in rental units.

SB 722/723 - Expands the eligible businesses for pollution prevention loans and increases the size of the available loans.

HB 5441 – a bill to clarify when "feasible and prudent" alternatives should be considered to a project that will impact wetlands.  An amendment was added in committee regarding when the MDEQ must issue a permit that may jeopardize Michigan's delegation of the Clean Water Act - section 404 program. 

HB 4106
-- Provide for state real estate transfer tax on transfer of certain manufactured homes.

HB 4879 -- Provide for exemption from sales tax on used manufactured homes.

HB 4882 -- Eliminate use tax on manufactured home sales.

HB 4880 -- Create and implement a manufactured housing specific tax.

HB 5844 -- Include for homestead property tax credit calculation amounts paid for Michigan manufactured housing specific tax.

HB 4111 -- Exempt from property taxes manufactured housing subject to specific tax.

HB 4868 -- Create a mobile homes manufactured home owners residency act.

HB 4869 -- Establish and clarify owners rights under the manufactured home owners association act.

HB 5035 -- Revise membership of the mobile home commission.

HB 5034 -- a bill to access mobile homes as real property.

HB 4358 -- To increase the length limit for trucks to 65 feet.

SB 510 -- a bill to establish stormwater fees.

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

Submitted by:

James Clift
Conan Smith
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539