Michigan: FYI. ~~Rita J.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 27, 2004
Governor Granholm Signs Law to Toughen Michigan’s Mining Regulations
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed a new law that will toughen Michigan’s mining regulations, updating antiquated provisions and reflecting a comprehensive approach to regulation that was developed cooperatively between the mining industry and leading environmental groups in the state.
“Michigan has been regulating mining operations using early 20th century laws, while the industry has undergone sweeping changes,” Granholm said. “These new regulations give us some of the toughest, if not the toughest, mining regulations in the country. They ensure the economic development potential of mining in our state, while being mindful of protecting our environment.”
The new law is the result of a cooperative effort initiated by the Granholm Administration between the mining industry and environmental groups who worked together with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources to develop a comprehensive law, Granholm said.
“When Upper Peninsula residents expressed concern over proposed new metallic sulfide mining operations, my administration put together a work group that included a stakeholder from virtually every perspective of this issue,” Granholm said. “Working together, they came up with a compromise that the mining companies and environmental groups both could support. I am pleased to sign this new law today.”
The new law (House Bill 6243 – Public Act 449) grants exclusive authority to the DEQ to regulate underground and surface mining and reclamation for nonferrous metals, such as nickel and zinc sulfide. The law would not impact iron mining operations at Cleveland Cliffs’ Tilden and Empire mines.
The new law:
• contains a strenuous permitting process that would require a thorough baseline assessment and detailed plans for mining, reclamation, and responding to accidents;
• provides extensive opportunities for public input;
• requires financial assurance from mining companies to cover remediation and reclamation costs in the event the DEQ had to take over those activities;
• requires that at the end of a mine’s life, the site and surrounding area would have to be reclaimed to establish a self-sustaining ecosystem that does not require perpetual care;
• requires post-closure monitoring to assure that any future environmental problems are identified and remediated;
• includes strict and comprehensive administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement tools.
“The signing of these bills is the result of an outstanding effort by the mining work group we established,” said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. “This is truly an example of individuals from different backgrounds and interests coming together to reach a common goal of doing what is best for the public health and safety of Michigan.”
The new law takes effect immediately.
The following bills were also filed with the Office of the Great Seal today:
House Bill 4969 – Public Act 445
Expands the Family Independence Agency first-time home purchase individual development account program to include accounts for post-secondary education and business capitalization.
House Bill 6242 – Public Act 446
Limits school districts annexed by a community college that can elect a trustee to those annexed before July 1, 2004.
House Bill 4817 – Public Act 447
Revises deadline for filing a discharge of mortgage with register of deeds and revises penalties for noncompliance with deadline.
House Bill 6226 – Public Act 448
Prescribes location of offices of judges of court of appeals.
# # #