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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update 3-24-06



Beach Grooming Criticized by Scientists - Pursuant to Public Act 14 of 2003, the MDEQ issued its report on beach grooming on Monday. Scientists from MSU and GVSU found that clearing vegetation through a coastal marsh alters the chemical and physical conditions of nearshore waters, reducing or eliminating habitat for Michigan's important game fish including yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. The researchers also found fewer species and significantly lower numbers of adult fish adjacent to groomed beaches. The numbers of invertebrate animals upon which these fish feed were also greatly reduced.

Certain provisions of the law will sunset this summer. A hearing on the report will be held Tuesday. The full report and studies can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3313_3687-10202--,00.html


SBT Repeal - Let me see if I understand this right. Somehow blowing a $2 billion hole in your budget ? with an ?undetermined? business tax to follow ? is supposed to attract businesses to Michigan? It would seem to me that the ?uncertainty? of future taxes would send potential new businesses running to other states. The Governor should veto this ill-conceived legislation ? until it is tied to a specific replacement revenue proposal.

Senate

Passed:

HB 4398 ? A bill to codify zoning statutes regarding counties, township, city and village zoning.

SB 1044 ? A bill to authorize the Mackinac Island State Park Commission to accept gifts and sell property. Referred to House Committee on Conservation, Forestry, and Outdoor Recreation.

HB 5508 ? Revise motor fuels quality act to reduce the vapor pressure in areas of the state where we are in non-attainment of Clean Air Act standards.

On the calendar:

SB 912 ? A bill to provide for tax incentive for managing private forestland by exempting them form the school mileage ? with the state required to make up the difference.

SB 913 - A bill to establish a qualified forest property recapture tax for properties that received property tax breaks under the property tax act, but then were converted to other uses.

SB 914 - A bill to exempt qualified forest property from most property taxes ? leaving them similar to homesteads.

SB 919 ? A bill to create 20 new forest products renaissance zones.

SB 971 ? A bill to require review and recommendation of the citizens committee for Michigan state parks before there is a sale of state park land.

SB 972 ? A bill to prohibit land within state parks from being designated surplus and being sold.

SB 337 - A bill to create a tax credit for historical buildings renovations. The bill however creates them as SBT credits, which although generated by nonprofit groups would be sold to SBT tax payers. A grant program to the nonprofits could serve the same purpose directly.

HB 4778 ? A bill to limit the liability of non-motorized watercraft rental facilities for injuries sustained by renters and users of rented non-motorized watercraft.

HB 5456 ? A bill to define which facilities would be eligible for new forest products renaissance zones.

SR 103 - A resolution to urge the Department of Natural Resources to work with the federal government and neighboring states to implement the most aggressive means of controlling the double-crested cormorant population pursuant to authority extended by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

SB 777 ? A bill to preempt local governments from regulating seeds.

SB 1167 ? A bill to create an agricultural roundtable to discuss the commercialization of agricultural products.

SB 1168 ? A bill to establish a grant and revolving loan program for the commercialization of agricultural value-added products, processes, and services.

SB 1169 ? A bill to create and administer the agricultural development fund.

SB 1074 ? A bill to impose a temporary 12 cents per gallon tax on certain alternative fuels.

SB 1075 ? A bill to acquire a supply of alternative fuel by October 2006 so that all State-owned vehicles capable of using alternative fuels are able to use them.

SB 1076 ? A bill to create a grant program and incentives to convert fuel delivery systems to provide biodiesel blends.

SB 1077 ? A bill to create a commission to investigate and recommend strategies to promote the use of alternative fuels.

SB 1078 ? A bill to designate up to 10 additional renaissance zones for renewable energy facilities.

SB 1079 ? A bill to extend regulations of certain fuels.

In Committee:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs will hold a joint meeting with the House Natural Resources, Great Lakes, Land Use, and Environment Committee on Tuesday (3/28) at 3:00 pm or after session to take up:

A report on impacts of beach maintenance and removal of vegetation under Act 14 of 2003 given by:
-Dr. Donald Uzarski, Grand Valley State University
-Dr. Tom Burton, Michigan State University
-Dr. Dennis Albert, Research Ecologist, MNFI-Michigan State University
-Steven Chester, Director of the Department of Environmental

Transportation will hold a joint meeting with House Transportation on Thursday (3/30) at 12:30 or after session to take up:

The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study

Transportation will also meet on Tuesday (3/28) at 1:00 pm to take up a number of bills including:

SB 1051 ? A bill to place a cap of $5 million on the appropriations from the Michigan Transportation Fund that go towards administration and enforcement of the Motor Fuel Tax Act.


House

Passed:

HB 5192 ? A bill to reduce minimum age for firearm deer, bear, or elk license.

HB 5811 ? a bill to exempt the sale of alternative gas and electric from the Home Solicitation Act.


On the calendar:

HB 5125 ? a bill to transfer authority from the Department of Natural Resources to the Natural Resources Commission to designate or establish special rules on lakes.

HB 5560 ? A bill to allow a public transit authority to levy taxes up to 25 years.

HB 5294 - Establish grace period and limit fines for zoning ordinance violations for cities and villages.

HB 5295 - Establish grace period and limit fines for zoning ordinance violations for counties.

HB 5296 - Establish grace period and limit fines for zoning ordinance violations for townships.

HB 4647 ? Provide for a Single business tax credit for a production tax credit for wind energy from wind turbines.

HB 4648 ? Provide for a definition and outline the regulation of wind energy systems by townships.

HB 4649 ? Provide for a definition and regulation of wind energy systems by counties.

SB 538 ? A bill to make methane digesters and similar technologies eligible for small business pollution prevention loans. The use of methane digester is only viable for large scale confined animal feeding operations, many of which have been shown to be chronic violators of environmental laws, or as designed, are expected to become violators during certain weather conditions. The Michigan Environmental Council opposed the legislation because we do not believe scarce state resources should be used to subsidize these types of farms.

HB 5711 - Presumption of compliance with environmental law for farm participating in MAEAP program.

HB 5712 ? This bill exclude CAFOs registered in the MAEAP from the requirement to get a water discharge permit.

HB 5713 - Require Department of Environmental Quality to publish a booklet that explains laws and rules that farms must follow to comply with environmental laws.

HB 5714 ? Require complainants name to be given when filing a complaint concerning a farm with the Department of Environmental Quality and subject those people to costs if they file more than two unverified complaint.

HB 5715 -16 - Designate the Department of Agriculture to oversee the Clean Water Fund Nonpoint Source Program.

HB 4138 ? A bill to revise certain construction requirements for public assisted or funded housing to make them more accessible.

HB 5565 ? A bill to expressly allow for mixed use zoning in townships.

HB 5566 - A bill to expressly allow for mixed use zoning in counties.

HB 5567 - A bill to expressly allow for mixed use zoning in cities and villages.

HB 5553 ? A bill to allow Townships to pass fire prevention ordinances.

SB 1035 ? A bill to amend the definition of wood harvester to include person hauling or transporting wood harvesting equipment.

SB 248 ? A bill to revise procedures to establish and issue vehicle fund-raising registration plates.

HB 5840 ? A bill to provide for a specialty vehicle fund-raising specialty plate for support of our troops.

In committee:

Appropriations: Environmental Quality will meet on Tuesday (3/28) at 1:30 pm or after session to discuss:
-Federally Mandated Programs
-Regulatory Fees Scheduled to Sunset in 2007 and 2008

Appropriations: Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday (3/29) at 10:30 am to discuss:
-State Park Programs
-State Forests: Timber Harvest Targets

Appropriations: Transportation will meet on Wednesday (3/29) at 8:30 am to discuss:
-FY 2006-07 Transportation Budget
-HFA Analysis and Public Testimony

Transportation will hold a joint meeting with Senate Transportation on Thursday (3/30) at 12:30 or after session to take up:

The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study

Natural Resources, Great Lakes, Land Use, and Environment will hold a joint meeting with the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs on Tuesday (3/28) at 3:00 pm or after session to take up:

A report on impacts of beach maintenance and removal of vegetation under Act 14 of 2003 given by:
-Dr. Donald Uzarski, Grand Valley State University
-Dr. Tom Burton, Michigan State University
-Dr. Dennis Albert, Research Ecologist, MNFI-Michigan State University
-Steven Chester, Director of the Department of Environmental

Commerce will meet on Wednesday (3/29) at 9:00 am to take up:

SB 922 ? A bill to allow for the designation of an additional development renaissance zone.


Submitted by:

James Clift
Kate Madigan
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539
http://www.mecprotects.org/