Governor Granholm has
shot down one of the most outrageous
bills to come out of the Legislature in a long time. HB 4617,
labeled by its proponents the Homeowner Protection Act, was vetoed by
Governor on Tuesday (DEQ press release at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135--133138--,00.html).
The bill, pushed hard by legislators from the Midland area, became
worse as it
moved through the Legislature, and would have gutted key portions of
process and the standards for clean up of contaminated sites all
both letting responsible parties off the hook for clean up AND leaving
unable to get any clean up of their contaminated property. Many
communities in Michigan
would have immediately seen the effect of this appalling shift of
the responsible parties to the victims of pollution.
An analysis of the bill
provided below points out some of its
worst provisions. Although many of these severe flaws were explained
the Legislature by DEQ officials at least 3 separate times in comments
bill, they were none the less left in the bill. We can only assume,
such disturbing concerns were repeatedly raised and not addressed that
Legislative leaders and proponents of this package intended to
environmental clean up law. In the press release from the DEQ,
Steve Chester explained that the bill “would have serious implications for the state’s
cleanup program, and would put property owners, the health of
their environment at risk.”
The scary thing about
this is that it appears that the
proponents of gutting Michigan’s
clean up laws are not going to simply get over the Governor doing the
thing by vetoing this bill. Already, and not surprisingly, Russ
who was by far Michigan’s worst director of environmental programs
has weighed in with a broadside attack and a grossly distorted
of the bill (http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=7501).
Keeping up the myth perpetrated by the folks who clearly are looking to
from gutting Michigan’s clean up
Harding, now with the Mackinac
ludicrous claim that current state law ignores property rights and
science. As has happened throughout this debate, the proponents of HB
4617 have tried to use verbal slight of hand to distract Legislators
people in Midland in particular from real goal of this legislative
let Dow and others responsible for contaminating property get out of
responsibility to clean up these messes.
Thanks are due to
Governor Granholm and the DEQ for holding
firm on a crucial part of the clean up law in Michigan. Please take a moment to
them know you appreciate their stalwart defense of common sense and
science -- and while you’re at it, find out how your legislators voted
House votes go to http://www.michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=168296
, for Senate votes go to
(Analysis drawn from DEQ
- Weakens cleanup requirements that protect Michigan’s
families from contaminated soil and contamination of the food chain.
- By wasting dollars on unnecessary testing,
the legislation will mean less cleanup putting more citizens at risk
- Our families deserve to have information on
contamination that affects their lives. This bill would restrict that
information flow and leave citizens unaware of contamination and how to
- The bill would endanger our state’s great
resources by preventing the DEQ from stopping contamination polluting
our lakes and streams.
- The priority for any cleanup project must be
placed on protecting our environment, and our citizens.
- This legislation simply
creates opportunities for polluters to avoid and delay cleaning up
contamination, putting our environment at an even greater risk.
- This legislation would waste countless
dollars on unnecessary testing, disputes, and delays.
- This takes away from money
that could go towards clean-up and redevelopment of a contaminated
property for productive use.
- Supporters of this legislation say that the
stigma of a label hurts the economy.
- They are wrong. It is the
contamination itself that hurts our economy, and we must retain the
tools to clean up that contamination quickly and efficiently in order
to move our economy forward.
Anne Woiwode, State
Sierra Club Mackinac (Michigan)
109 E. Grand River
Enjoy, Explore and
Protect - www.michigan.sierraclub.org
"We know what to do. We have everything we
save the political will - which is, after all, a renewable resource.
the time. This our moral moment and [I am confident] we will rise to
occasion." Former Vice President Albert Gore, at the Sierra Club Summit,