(Originally issued in the December 2018 Newsletter)

This lame duck session has been like no other in terms of the volume of bills coming up for consideration that could undermine protections for Natual Resources. As of December 18, here is the status of several legislative bills that might be of interest to Michigan Riparians:

HB 4205 – No Stricter than Federal (Sent to the Governor) This bill would prevent Michigan state agencies from adopting rules that are more protective than federal standards. Some Riparians believe it is important that Michigan officials decide what’s best for our state, and not rely on federal minimum standards to dictate how we protect our waterways, drinking water, and air. This bill passed out of the House last week and is now sitting on Governor Snyder’s desk.

SB 1211 – Changing Protections for Wetlands and Inland Lakes – This bill would remove protections for about 600,000 acres of Michigan wetlands and around 4,500 inland lakes. If this bill goes into effect, people could fill, pave over, and dredge wetlands and inland lakes and our state decision-makers would not be able to prevent it. The bill passed out of the Michigan Senate and is now awaiting action in the Michigan House.

SB 1188-1194 Legislation to Pre-empt Local Control of Trees and Other Vegetation

The bill passed out of the Michigan Senate and is now awaiting action in the Michigan House.  The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) opposes these bills stating that Local Ordinances covering these matters reflect the decisions by local communities and should be respected.

SB 1244 – Part 201 Cleanup Standards for Contaminated Sites

The legislation places new requirements on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality when moving to update current cleanup standards based on new health studies. Without new resources, these additional requirements will divert money from current efforts to protect Michigan residents from exposure to contaminated sites. It could also delay efforts to update the current standard of 70 ppm for PFAS/PFOA. The bill is still pending action.

HB 5752 and HB 5753 – Inspecting and identifying failing septic systems by creating a statewide septic code (These bills are dead for this year)

SB 943 – Renew Michigan

This bill provides a sustainable funding source for environmental issues such as contaminated site cleanup and water quality monitoring (e.g. CLMP). It also provides much needed funding for contaminants of concern like PFAS. Governor Snyder reportedly supports this bill, and favorable action remains a possibilty.