ICYMI: Environmental Legislation This Week
Michigan Clean Water Plan Legislation Scheduled for Hearing
SB 319 (Sen. Rick Outman) and SB 320 (Sen. Paul Wojno) are scheduled for a hearing next week Tuesday, at 1 p.m. in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. This legislation and budget authorization is needed to efficiently get water infrastructure dollars to local communities. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 15 jobs are created for every $1 million invested in water infrastructure. Modelled after successful programs in Oregon and Washington, SB 319 authorizes EGLE to create a low or no interest loan program to residents for replacing and repairing septic systems. About 30 percent of Michigan households still utilize outdated systems. Senate Bill 320 allows the $290 million of remaining authorization of the voter-approved 2002 Great Lakes Water Quality Bond to be more efficiently disseminated for programs envisioned under the MI Clean Water Plan.
Legislative Activity We’re Monitoring
Public Notice Requirement for Aerial Spraying
Testimony was heard on House Bill 4497 that would amend the Public Health Code to allow aerial spraying of pesticides, with notice to the public. The bill requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to notify the public and local health departments and provide opt-out information, if it determined that aerial spraying of a pesticide was necessary to prevent and control a disease or environmental health hazard. The notice would have to be provided at least three days before the scheduled aerial spraying. The issue was particularly prominent in West Michigan in 2019 with regional hot spots of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Michigan LCV has not taken a position on this bill, but is monitoring the legislation and doing more research in an effort to balance public health needs, individual rights, and environmental toxicological burden.
Important Bill Introductions
New Building Code Legislation Would Impact the Update of the State Energy Code
HB 4648 and SB 363 are companion bills that amend the state construction code act. The bills require the appointment of new advisory committees for the International Building, Electric, Energy Conservation, Mechanical, Plumbing, Residential, and the Existing International Building Codes. They also require each advisory committee to report on recommendations for changes to the existing code, and require the committees to consider detailed reasoning behind each revision.
Michigan tends to lag behind on updates to our building codes which have significant implications for human health and the environment. Energy efficiency and building design standards are of particular concern as buildings account for approximately 20 percent of direct carbon dioxide emissions in Michigan and an even greater level of lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. No climate strategy will be successful if it fails to include serious regulatory strategies that target reducing building sector energy use and eliminating emissions. Michigan LCV will monitor these bills closely and work with bill sponsors to ensure they won’t weaken or further hamper the update of state building standards and Michigan’s clean and efficient energy goals.
Check your Legislator’s Work with the Digital Accountability Suite:
We’re keeping our eye on what goes on in Lansing so we can keep you informed. Track your lawmaker’s progress on environmental legislation by using our accountability suite. Learn who values and acts to protect our land, air and water in our state government; hold elected officials accountable for their actions; and track decisions and legislation that impacts our natural resources and communities.