LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today issued the following statement after House Bills 4443-4444, which they are calling “More Broken Bottle Bills” passed out of the House Regulatory Reform Committee.
“Michigan has tens of thousands of contaminated sites that need cleanup, at the very moment we have some additional funding available to chip away at that backlog, it would be fundamentally irresponsible to strip money away,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “This legislation effectively is another attack on critical funds for contaminated site cleanup that come from unreturned bottle deposits. We need more money to fight contamination in our drinking water, rivers, streams, lakes, and land, and we urge lawmakers in the House to oppose this misguided legislation.”
In 2018, $42 million worth of bottle deposits went unclaimed. This year, Michigan is projected to see a record number of unreturned bottles due to the pandemic and the temporary shut down of retail bottle return stations. House Bills 4443-4444 would require the state to pay a half-cent for every deposit beverage container to distributors in refundable tax credits. Under the amended HB 4444 that passed out of Committee today, the General Fund could then be reimbursed for the tax credits using unclaimed bottle deposits if those unclaimed returns surpass $50 million (through 2022); returns are suspected to surpass that total this year.
Last legislative session, Representative Brandt Iden introduced House bill 5423 that would have stripped an estimated $21 million away from contaminated site cleanup. This legislation saw strong opposition from Michigan LCV and Gov. Whitmer, and failed to pass the House.