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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of April 8, 2016

By Judy Augenstein

Citing "significant public concerns", the state has proposed not limiting its list of air toxics to review in permit applications, in a set of pending rule changes.  The announcement made by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is a departure from the DEQ's initial proposed revisions to its air toxics regulations.
The DEQ had proposed criteria for defining toxic air contaminants, which would have resulted in a list of roughly 600 chemicals to review during the air permit application process.

The current rules have the state examining all the chemicals proposed in an application, except those on an exemption list.  Environmental groups opposed the change, saying the resulting list would be reduced from what were originally about 1,200 substances up for review.  Industry groups have applauded the DEQ decision.
The state had said the change would allow regulators to focus their attention on the most toxic chemicals, and that the state would still have discretion to review any chemical it wants in a permit.

Rep. Ken Goike had a mild heart attack last Friday.  I spoke to him on Monday and he had just left a meeting with Governor Rick Snyder and others complaining about in Ken's words "the bottomless pit of money the legislature is providing for the Detroit Public Schools and the Flint water crisis."  Ken will be unable to attend the April 11 GLTPA spring meeting, but is planning to attend the MAT, April 14 -15 annual meeting.  Rep. Goike is prepared to give a legislative update on the Amish issue/legislation.

The Legislature returns to Lansing on Tuesday, April 12 to complete their agenda of work before they recess for the primary election.  I am hopeful we will be able to advance legislation to allow a multiple use permit tailored after Wisconsin before the end of the legislative session.  I fear the November "Lame Duck" session with be another legislative nightmare!

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