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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update 6-05-06

The state parks bills (SB 971-972) passed out of the House Conservation, Forestry, and Outdoor Recreation committee last week. The bills would require the Natural Resource Commission to approve any proposed sale of state park land and legislative approval for sales of parcels larger than 100 acres (or 15% of the total acreage of the park) and for sales of designated natural areas or wilderness areas. These bills now head to the House floor where there may be attempts to amend the bills to make it harder for the state to purchase new land.

Correction from last week: while a floor amendment that strips $1 million from the DEQ’s NPDES program and gives it to the MDA for the voluntary MAEAP program was adopted to the omnibus budget bill (HB 5795), a different budget bill was actually passed on the House floor (HB 5796).




On the calendar:

HB 5347 – A bill to adopt the federal organic standards and allow, rather than require, the Director of MDA to promulgate rules to adopt standards that meet or exceed those standards.


Natural Resources:

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.


SB 1159 – A bill to create a water improvement tax increment financing authority (TIF) for inland lakes. 



HB 5181 – A bill to create a commission to promote the research and use of ethanol, biodiesel, and other renewable fuels.


HB 5751 – A bill to provide for a differential motor fuel tax rate for certain motor fuels.


HB 5752 – A bill to allow renaissance zones for renewable energy facilities.


HB 5754 – A bill to provide for economic development corporations for fueling infrastructure.


HB 5755 – A bill to establish standards and codes for the use of diesel, biodiesel, and hydrogen.



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.

In Committee:

Agriculture, Forestry, and Tourism will meet on Thursday (6/8) at 8:30 am to take up bills including:


SB 192 – A bill to create agricultural security areas and reduce taxes paid on farmland to $5 per acre. While the intent of the bill is a preservation strategy for smaller farms in areas under pressure for development, much more needs to be included in the bills to achieve this. The bill also would take away funding from the current farmland preservation efforts that are in high demand but under funded.


HB 4257 – A bill to create agricultural security areas and reduce taxes paid on farmland to $5 per acre. Introduced with SB 192, this bill has been modified to increase penalties for leaving the program.




**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 5817-5820 – Bills to modify how payments are made to residential occupants who move due to condemnation actions.


HB 5821 – A bill to revise procedures regarding just compensation and notice to occupants of property.


HB 5060 – A bill to prohibit the use of eminent domain by state or local government to take private property for the primary benefit of a private entity.

SB 693 – A bill to limit the use of eminent domain to transfer private property to private entities.

On the calendar:


SB 803 – A bill to include alternative energy systems in the definition of personal property, providing it favorable tax treatment.


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 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 1078 – A bill to designate up to 10 additional renaissance zones for renewable energy facilities. **A floor amendment was introduced to require that by-products of these facilities not be sold or distributed to CAFOs.


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


HR 249 – A resolution to express support for the 25 x 25 vision that by 2025, Michigan and American farmers and forests will provide 25% of the total energy consumed in the U.S.

HB 5952 – A bill that repeals the requirement that fuel meet ASTM standards. Tie barred to HB 1074.


**HB 5711-5716 – These CAFOs bills were re-referred to the House Agriculture Committee on 5/24/06.


HB 5878 – A bill to require the DEQ to prepare a compliance booklet for agricultural processors.


Public Health:

HB 5851 – A bill to delineate conditions under which civil actions can be brought for damages that include asbestos and silicosis claims. 



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

SB 1182 – A bill to increase the limitation on funds that can be transferred from major street systems to local street systems.

Public Land/Land Use:
SB 971 – A bill to require review and recommendation of the Natural Resources Commission for Michigan state parks before there is a sale of state park land, and to require legislative approval for any sales of state park land larger than 100 acres.


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


HB 5294-5296 – Establish grace period and limit fines for zoning ordinance violations for cities and villages, counties, and townships.

HB 5565-5567 – Bills to expressly allow for mixed use zoning in townships, counties, and cities and villages. 

In Committee:


Agriculture will meet on Tuesday (6/6) at 2:00 pm or after session to take up bills including:


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 877 – A bill to create anhydrous ammonia safety and security practices (AASSPs) for and to give tort immunity for sellers of this type of fertilizer when storing it in compliance with the AASSPs.


Government Operations will meet on Tuesday (6/6) at 10:30 am to take up bills including:


HB 6110 – A bill to rename the White Pine Trail State Park to the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail.


Local Government and Urban Policy will meet on Thursday (6/8) at 9:00 am to take up bills including:


HB 6045 – A bill to allow local governments to partner with private investments to purchase state land. The bill requires that if local government purchases state land and then within one year conveys the property for use other than public purpose, they must pay the state 50% of the net profit gained.


HB 6046 – A bill to allow local government to purchase land under the jurisdiction of DNR.


Submitted by:

James Clift
Kate Madigan
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539