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E-M:/ Statewide council presents Area of Concern accomplishments and priorities to the state legislature



Title: Statewide council presents Area of Concern accomplishments and priorities to the state legislature

April 24, 2006

Statewide Council presents Area of Concern accomplishments and
legislative priorities to the State Legislature

Contact:        Greg Mund, Chair, Statewide Public Advisory Council, 231-740-9309
                Matt Doss, Council support staff, Great Lakes Commission, 734-971-9135

The Statewide Public Advisory Council for Michigan’s Areas of Concern (AOC) is presenting its 2006 Status Report and Legislative Agenda to the state legislature in Lansing this week.  Council members are meeting with legislators from their AOCs and the Council officers are meeting with committee leaders with oversight for Michigan’s AOC program.  The Council will review major accomplishments in cleaning up Michigan’s 14 Great Lakes Areas of Concern and legislative priorities for sustaining progress toward their complete restoration.  The Council’s statement is online at http://glc.org/spac/pdf/Legislative-Statement-2006.pdf

“We are making tremendous progress in restoring Michigan’s Great Lakes toxic hot spots.  The legislature’s support and DEQ’s leadership – and the hard work of their staff – have secured much-needed federal funding, both for on-the-ground cleanups and new technical staff to coordinate restoration efforts,” said Greg Mund, chair of the Council and representative from the White Lake AOC.  “We need the legislature’s continued support to maintain this progress, complete the cleanup process, and start removing our communities from the federal list of Great Lakes toxic hot spots,” Mund added.

The Council’s Status Report and Legislative Agenda highlights significant accomplishments over the past year under Michigan’s AOC program.  Among other accomplishments, the program has

The status report reviews each of these accomplishments and includes photos of the cleanups and comments from local officials on their importance to the local community.

In order to sustain and build on this progress, the Council is asking the state legislature to support three key priorities:

The Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) environmental bond program includes $25 million for cleaning up contaminated sediments, which has enabled Michigan to leverage nearly $15 million under the federal Great Lakes Legacy Act for cleanups on the Detroit River and Muskegon Lake.  Approximately $7 million of these CMI funds remain available, with several major sediment cleanups yet to be implemented.  The Legacy Act requires that 35 percent of project costs be covered by non-federal sources.  Thus, when CMI funds run out, it will be much more difficult for Michigan to provide the matching funds required to use funding under the Legacy Act. 

“The Great Lakes Legacy Act is the primary funding source for removing contaminated sediments in Michigan’s Areas of Concern.  As the Great Lakes State – and the state with more AOCs than any other – we should be first in line for these funds,” said Mund, adding that “the legislature and DEQ need to make sure we can continue to utilize this federal funding pot for cleaning up the Great  Lakes.”  President Bush has proposed $49.7 million for the Legacy Act for fiscal year 2007.

The Statewide Public Advisory Council’s outreach to the state legislature complements its communications with the U.S. Congress.  In March the Council wrote to Michigan’s Congressional delegation urging federal support for the Areas of Concern program, including full funding for the Great Lakes Legacy Act and funding for the DEQ and local advisory councils to coordinate AOC cleanup efforts.  Last week Mund spoke at a Congressional field briefing sponsored by Michigan Congressman Vernon Ehlers in Grand Rapids.  He submitted a statement from the Council reviewing recent accomplishments in Michigan’s AOCs and highlighting opportunities to better coordinate science and resource management in support of AOC restoration efforts.

Two newly-updated documents provide additional information on Michigan’s Areas of Concern and are available from the Council’s website at www.glc.org/spac:

Frequently Asked Questions about Michigan's Great Lakes Areas of Concern Program: This document includes answers to basic questions about Michigan's AOCs.  It has been updated with the latest information on CMI and Great Lakes Legacy Act projects in Michigan's AOCs, as well as background on Michigan's recently-completed statewide AOC delisting guidance.  It also includes a list of federal, state and local contacts for each AOC.

 
Great Lakes Legacy Act Fact Sheet: This document provides a brief overview of the Legacy Act, an update on appropriations for it and talking points in support of funding for the Act.  The fact sheet includes a table listing current and proposed Legacy Act projects, including the AOC and site, applicant, cost, implementation status, and volume of contaminated sediments being addressed.

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The Statewide Public Advisory Council is a coalition of local advisory councils that are guiding restoration efforts in Michigan’s 14 Areas of Concern (AOC) designated under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.  The council was formed in 1991 to facilitate public participation in decisions affecting Michigan's statewide AOC program, heighten public awareness of and participation in Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) being developed in the AOCs, and generate public support for implementation of restoration and protection measures in the AOCs.  The Council provides training and technical assistance to RAP participants, and advises state and federal agencies and elected officials on priorities for the statewide AOC program. Technical support for the Council is provided by the Great Lakes Commission.