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E-M:/ MEC Capitol Update 6-1-07



The Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Environmental Quality is getting close to wrapping up its work.  The Committee chair, Sen. Valde Garcia is considering a number of cuts to the department including eliminating the wetland protection program (transferring responsibility to the federal government).  A common theme of the chair is that Michigan should be no stronger than the minimum federal program even when it comes to protecting water resources, such as the Great Lakes.  The logic appears to be that if go beyond federal standards then we won’t be competitive.  Under than logic, adopting China’s standards for environmental protection should make us even more competitive.  That logic is flawed.  Michigan’s future is tied to protecting the Great Lakes.  Adopting federal minimum standards that don’t fully appreciate the unique and fragile nature of these resources is a recipe for disaster.  Strong standards to protect the environmental and public health reduce health care costs, avoid expensive cleanup costs, and make Michigan an attractive place to live.   

 

Moves last week by the Legislature to sell off the health of the Great Lakes (raiding $70 million designated for cleaning up 7000 sites of leaking underground storage tanks) have to end.  Michigan’s structural deficit needs addressing – that means the Legislature must explore new revenue options -- to reverse the erosion of the state’s ability to provide good educations and healthy communities to raise a family.   

   

 

SENATE

 

On the floor:

SCR 10 - A concurrent resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to provide funding for the Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative.

SR 66 - A resolution to urge Michigan's congressional delegation to secure supplemental funding to control the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia in fish populations.

SCR 12 - A concurrent resolution to urge Michigan's congressional delegation to secure supplemental funding to control the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia in fish populations. 

 

In committee:

Subcommittees on appropriations:

Environmental Quality will meet Tuesday (6/5) at 3:00 PM for Subcommittee Recommendations/Decision Making on the FY 2007-08 Department of Environmental Quality Budget.

 

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs and Appropriations Subcommittee: Natural Resources will meet Tuesday (6/5) at 12:00 PM or immediately following session for an Advice and Consent hearing on James R. Richardson, appointee to the Natural Resources Commission.

 

Standing committees:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs and Appropriations Subcommittee: Natural Resources will meet Tuesday (6/5) at 12:00 PM or immediately following session for an Advice and Consent hearing on James R. Richardson, appointee to the Natural Resources Commission.

 

Energy Policy and Public Utilities will meet Thursday (6/7) at 1:00 PM for a presentation by LS Power.

 


HOUSE

 

On the floor:

HB 4711-13 – Bills to amend the brownfield redevelopment act to allow more costs to be covered by captured tax revenues and change the MDEQ approval process for some of those costs.

HB 4641 – A bill to allow a county board of commissioners to change name of office of county drain commissioner to office of the water resources commissioner and authorize and increase amount of bond.

HB 4642 – A bill to provide for a definition of the term "visibly in existence".

HB 4643 – A bill to clarify liability for certain legal expenses of a drainage district.

HB 4644 – A bill to increase the enforcement power for removing obstructions or interferences with drains.

HB 4688 – A bill to double the amount a drain commissioner can spend on maintenance of a drain (from $2,500 to $5,000) – and assess those costs to taxpayers within a special assessment district. The taxpayers in such a district have no right to a vote on the maintenance project.

SB 350 - A bill to create an animal welfare fund.

HB 4463 - A bill to require the issuance of a permit to operate a marina at a public road. The MDEQ is concerned that the “shall issue” nature of the application could result in environmental degradation and possible overcrowding on inland lakes.

HB 4464 - A bill to clarify the intention of a plat donation of a road, street, or alley terminating at a lake or stream contiguous to a shoreline.

 

In committee:

Subcommittees on appropriations: n/a

Standing committees:

Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources will meet Tuesday (6/5) at 10:30 AM for a presentation by Jon Allen, Kurt Heise and Paul Seelbach of the Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council.  The committee will also take up:

-        HB 4471: A bill to define terms for double-crested cormorant control program.

-        HB 4614: A bill to provide for a double-crested cormorant control fund.

-        SB 354: A bill to define terms for double-crested cormorant control program.

 

Transportation: Public Transit will meet Wednesday (6/6) at 9:00 AM for presentations by Robert Foy, General Manager of the Mass Transportation Authority and Joe DeKoning, Executive Director of the Bay Area Transportation Authority.

 

Submitted by:

James Clift

Jamie Weitzel

Michigan Environmental Council

119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A

Lansing, MI 48912

(517) 487-9539

www.mecprotects.org