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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 4/22/05



Resolution urging extensions on the licenses for the Cook and Palisades Nuclear Power plants approved by House Technology and Energy Committee after 30 minutes of testimony.  Final decision will be made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- hopefully they will take a little longer look at the issue.

Auditor General finds Engler administration and Harding  undermined their own scientists' work by cutting deals with polluting companies and refusing to arm state prosecutors with the tools they needed to enforce cleanup laws.  Who paid the bill? -- Michigan taxpayers.

Coming up in the House: 

Bill to require 2% biodiesel in all diesel sold in the state reported to the House floor.  Environmental groups join Farm Bureau in advocating for cleaner fuels.

Bill to promote farmland preservation may see action in the House this week.  Bill (HB 4257) fails to follow the recommendation of the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council.

Bill to convert $100 million in sewer infrastructure loan funds (approved by the voters in 2002) to grants to boost sewer infrastructure work.  

Senate
 
On the calendar:

SB 332 - Requires Michigan join and advocate for a Great Lakes states coalition to regulate the discharge of ballast water within the Great Lakes. Legislation based in part on a report issued by MDEQ finding that federal efforts to control invasive species from ballast water inadequate.

In committee:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs will meet on Tuesday (4/26) at 3:00 pm to take up:

SB 73 - Defines how offset rule will be implemented in Michigan's nonattainment areas under the Clean Air Act.

SR 25 - A resolution to urge the United States Coast Guard to immediately eliminate the "No Ballast on Board" (NOBOB) exemption from regulations on ballast water management and require all ships with ballast tanks that enter the Great Lakes to conform to all regulations for ballast water management in federal law.

Technology & Energy will meet on Wednesday (4/27) at 3:00 PM to take up:

SB 334 - A bill to provide for service charge to be placed on gas and electricity bills annually for low income and energy efficiency. 

Tax Policy, Joint Meeting with Senate Finance will meet on Monday (4/25) at 1:00 PM for a general discussion with the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA), the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), the Michigan Association of Homebuilders, the Michigan Bankers Association, the Michigan Business and Professionals Association, the Car and Truck Rental Association, and the Michigan Boating Association regarding the Governors single business tax restructuring proposal. Please note: the meeting will focus only on the parts of the Governors tax restructuring proposal that deal with the single business tax (SBT).

Appropriations: Agriculture will meet on Thursday (4/28) at 3:00 pm to take up
the Fiscal Year 2005-06 Agriculture Budget.

Appropriations: Community Health will meet on Thursday (5/5) at 2:30 PM to take testimony on Agenda Administration, Aging, and Public Health Overview

Appropriations: Transportation will meet on Tuesday (4/26) at 1:00 PM for testimony on the Fiscal Year 2005-06 Transportation Budget

Appropriations: Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday (5/4) at 3:00 PM for an Advice and Consent Meeting on Glen Bailey and Todd Wyett, Appointees to the Michigan State Waterways Commission

House

Passed:

HB 4560 - A bill to revise penalties for violations of emerald ash borer quarantine.

HB 4562 - A bill to revise penalties for moving emerald ash borer, firewood, or quarantined articles.

HB 4567 - A bill to establish sentencing guidelines for crimes of violating insect and plant pest quarantines.

On the calendar:

HB 4204 - This bill eliminates the 6 cent sales tax on gas to the extent that it exceeds $2.30 gallon.

HB 4257 - The bill reduces the taxes that farmers would pay on their property to $5 acre be providing them a tax credit against their income or Single Business Tax payment to property taxes paid above that amount. The program is limited to only 200,000 acres - in order to limit the the lost tax revenue to the state to $2-3 million.  If applied to all property the bill would cost the state more than $30 million a year (depending on enrollment).  Unlike the current program (PA 116), this act has does not limit the property taxes credit based on the income level of the taxpayer.  The bill does not follow the recommendations of the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council on this point.

HB 4235 a bill to require 2% biodiesel to be included in diesel fuel sold within the state.

HB 4572 -- A bill to allow a portion of the Great Lakes water quality bonds to be expended for grants for engineering and consulting costs associated with sewage treatment projects.

HB 4573 -- A bill to transfer $100 million dollars in authorized bonds (from the $1 billion authorized by the voters in 2002) to the grant program created in HB 4572.

HCR 8 - A concurrent resolution to urge the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating license of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant.

HCR 9 - A concurrent resolution to urge the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating license of the D.C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant.

In committee:

Conservation, Forestry, and Outdoor Recreation will meet on Thursday (4/28) at 8:30 AM for testimony on the status of the Gaylord to Cheboygan snowmobile trail from:
Michigan Snowmobile Association, Bill Manson
Indian River Chamber of Commerce, Brenda Archambeau

Energy and Technology will meet Wednesday (4/27) at 9:00 am for a presentation from Ronald McNamara, Vice President of Market Management, Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO) regarding background on MISO, the start-up of the Day 2 market and related matters

Transportation will meet on Tuesday (4/26) at 9:00 am to take up:

HB 4602 - A bill to revise the definition of maintenance to delete the installation of new traffic signals.

Presentation on Motor Fuel Prices by Mark Griffin, Michigan Petroleum Association

Presentation on Motor Fuel Prices by Brad Deacon and Celeste Bennett from the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA)

Agriculture will meet on  Tuesday (4/26) at 2:00 PM or after committees are given leave by the House to meet, whichever time is later to take up:

HB 4558 - A bill to forgive a $5 million loan to sugar beet cooperatives.

Tax Policy, Joint Meeting with Senate Finance will meet on Monday (4/25) at 1:00 PM for a general discussion with the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA), the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), the Michigan Association of Homebuilders, the Michigan Bankers Association, the Michigan Business and Professionals Association, the Car and Truck Rental Association, and the Michigan Boating Association regarding the Governors single business tax restructuring proposal. Please note: the meeting will focus only on the parts of the Governors tax restructuring proposal that deal with the single business tax (SBT).

Appropriations: Agriculture will meet on Thursday (4/26) at 10:30 am to take up
the Fiscal Year 2005-06 Agriculture Budget - Agriculture Budget and Environmental Stewardship.

Appropriations: Environmental Quality will meet on Wednesday (4/27) at 9:00 AM - Agenda FY 2005-06 Budget - Program Review: Priority Setting
- Department of Environmental Quality
- Public Testimony

Appropriations: Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday (4/27) at 11:00 AM - Agenda FY 2005-06 Budget - Program Review: Priority Setting
- Department of Natural Resources
- Public Testimony

Appropriations: Transportation will meet on Wednesday (4/27) at 8:30 AM for a testimony on the 2005-06 Transportation Budget

Submitted by:

James Clift
Brad Garmon
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539
www.mecprotects.org