As encouraged by the Great Lakes, Great Michigan Coalition, Three Lakes Association is again being encouraged to call and/or send an e-mail note to your legislators regarding the proposed packages of bills in the House and Senate aimed at protecting Michigan groundwater, because votes and committee actions are scheduled this week. See below for a one-page list of the FINAL FOUR POINTS of public policy that could be accomplished by passing the package of House Bills and defeating the Senate Bills.
To read Representative Howard Walker’s reasons for opposing the House Bills, click on this link…www.gophouse.com/walker.htm The first of two position papers is “Groundwater and the Public Trust Doctrine”, a seven -page legal opinion, and the second position paper is a 16-page write up describing his reasons for opposing each of the proposed seven House Bills, HB 5065 to 5072.
Dear GLGM partners – Here is a short summary of what happened in the past weeks. We expect this work to wrap up sometime next week, which means NOW is a very critical time!
* The Senate and House each passed the Great Lakes Compact, but the Compact is tie-barred to each chamber’s package of Michigan-specific water use legislation. This means it will not pass until the rest of the legislation is agreed upon, and that is a good thing for now.
* The Senate passed its bills package 3 weeks ago.
* The House passed all but 3 of their bills over the past 3 weeks, and then passed those last 3 bills yesterday.
* If there is no negotiated agreement, the next step would be conference committee.
There are still attempts to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate bills, and if those are successful, we would avoid the much longer and difficult process of conference committee. We remain hopeful about this negotiation process; however, it is not only fragile but also under great pressure to move quickly!
Please call or write your elected officials today, over the weekend, or Monday with special emphasis on the Senate.
You can find contact information here:
We remain consistent on four points – tell your officials the following:
1 – We want the ground waters of the state formally protected as part of the public trust.
The House package does this; the Senate package DOES NOT.
2 – We want to limit impacts on thriving fish populations in cold rivers and streams to less than 1%.
We could accept limits on some warm and cool water withdrawals to as much as 25% of the water – if a state oversight program kicks in, including public noticing, commenting, and hearings if appropriate. The House package does BOTH of these; the Senate package DOES NOT.
3 – We want a permit threshold of 1 million gallons a day.
A range of 1-2 dozen permits a year should be expected if the House program is enacted. If permitting does not apply until one crosses a threshold of 2 million gallons a day, there will be virtually no permitting in the state for large water withdrawals and this is what the Senate package allows.
4 – We want to protect the rights of current users, and grandfather currently permitted capacity even if it is not all currently being used. The House package does this; the Senate package DOES NOT.
Please flood the Capitol with calls and letters again between now and Monday evening! They return to session on Tuesday, and we hope they come back telling their leadership that their offices were swamped with communications supporting the Great Lakes, Great Michigan Coalition positions. THIS WILL HELP US and we thank you again for your help and support.
Have a great weekend! Sincerely, Grenetta
Grenetta Thomassey, PhD
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
426 Bay St., Petoskey, MI 49770
231-347-1181 ext. 115 231-838-5193 cell