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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 5/6/05

Sewer Infrastructure - House moves legislation to transfer voter approved bonds for sewer infrastructure work to a new grant program for engineering and consultant work.  The Michigan Environmental Council is concerned that the legislation changes the program the voters approved, will result in a reduction of money available for sewer infrastructure loans in the long-term and obligate the state to repay bonds from the general fund (versus from loan repayment proceeds).

Bill to require 2% biodiesel in all diesel sold in the state to be taken up by the House - would help Michigan attain compliance with the Clean Air Act and foster farmland preservation.



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

SB 341 - Allows parking bureaus to be run by downtown development authorities.

SB 342 - Requires the state to explore all options before leasing or building new office space.

SB 343 - Allows for creations of neighborhood improvement authorities.

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.

On the calendar:

SB 339 - A bill to allow multiple buildings to share an elevator.

SB 434 - A bill to allow transportation economic development dollars to be used to fund roads to and from distribution centers (such as Wal Mart).

In committee:

Technology & Energy will meet on Wednesday (5/11) 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.

Presentations on alternative energies by the Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, NextEnergy, Shepherd Avisors, and General Electric Wind

Appropriations: Community Health will meet on Thursday (5/10) at 1:00 PM to take testimony on Governor Granholm's Long Term Care Facility Reconstruction Incentive Program

Appropriations: Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday (5/11) at 3:00 PM for Presentation by Rebecca A. Humphries, Department of Natural Resources Director

Appropriations: Environmental Quality will meet on Tuesday (5/10) at 1:00 p.m. to take up the Fiscal Year 2005-06 Environmental Quality Budget  - Presentation by Steven Chester, Department of Environmental Quality Director



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.

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. No municipality could receive more than $3 million and some project already in the planning and development stage would be eligible.

HB 4573 -- In 2002, the voters authorized $1 billion in bonds to support sewer infrastructure through the current low-interest loan program. This bill authorizes all bonds sold between now and October 1, 2005 to be used for the grant program created in HB 4572.  In the future, 85% of the bonds would be used to support low-interest loans and 15% of the money would be deposited into the Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund to be used for grants (as above) or loans to communities for septic tank upgrade assistance and footer drain disconnect projects.

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

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

In committee:

Energy and Technology will meet on Wednesday (5/11) at 9:00 AM for a presentation on Electric Generation Capacity and Reliability by DTE Energy

Transportation will meet on Tuesday (5/10) at 9:00 AM for a presentation by the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) regarding Motor Fuel Prices

Tax Policy, Joint Meeting with Senate Finance will meet on Monday (5/9) at 1:00 PM at Northwestern Michigan College Hagerty Center, Room C 715 E. Front Street Traverse City, MI for a general discussion 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: Environmental Quality will meet on Wednesday (5/11) at 9:00 AM to discuss budget issues - FY 2005-06

Appropriations: Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday (5/11) at 1100 AM to discuss budget issues - FY 2005-06

Appropriations: Transportation will meet on Wednesday (5/11) at 8:30 AM for 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