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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 8/5/04

Senate Recycling Package Fails to Address Michigan's Dismal Recycling Rate

After Senate task force hearings across the state and a comprehensive report (including recommendations for action) the Senate Republicans moved a package of bills that will do virtually nothing to address Michigan's Recycling rate.  Calls for a Recycling Advisory Council to “study” this problem is just another example of the legislature avoiding its duty under the Michigan Constitution (Art. 4, Sec. 52) to protect the air, water, and other natural resources of the state from pollution, impairment and destruction.  The landfilling of recyclable materials wastes millions of gallons of oil each year unnecessarily in this country.  Michigan can, and should be, doing more to address this critical problem.  

The legislature acted on potential revenue sources, but took no actions on budgets yet.

The Legislative is scheduled to return Wednesday (8/25). 


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



SB 790 – Establishes the recycling advisory council.  The council would "study" a variety the issues including funding for recycling, and whether to "change" the bottle bill.  The fifteen person "advisory" council would be dominated by industry representatives.

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 in statute (already exists in the department) - with reporting requirements (however, no new money was allocated and no one has a duty to report how much they recycle).

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 (27% by 2009 - a level below the national average).

In committee:

Senate Energy and Technology
meeting on Wednesday (8/4) to take up SB 1331-1336 regarding the regulation of electrical markets was canceled. 


On the calendar:

SB 757 -
This bill places penalties on landlords 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
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539