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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2007 House Bill 5068: Expand commercial/industrial groundwater restrictions and regulations
  1. Introduced by Rep. Andy Coulouris (D) on July 25, 2007, to lower the groundwater use threshold that would require a new commercial or industrial user to undergo extensive permitting procedures. The threshold would go from 2 million gallons to 1 million gallons per day for waters other than the Great Lakes, and from 5 million gallons to 2 million gallons per day for Great Lakes and tributary waters. Among the extensive permit requirements would be the need to perform rigorous hydro-geological, water source, natural features, and soil studies. The bill would also increase permit application fees, lengthen from 120 days to 180 days the time the Department of Environmental Quality has to act on a permit request (once it determines that the application is “administratively complete”), and require a public comment period. The bill is part of a legislative package consisting of House Bills 5065 to 5073 that would restrict and subject to extensive regulation the use of groundwater by industrial and commercial businesses.
    • Referred to the House Great Lakes and Environment Committee on July 25, 2007.
      • Reported in the House on March 12, 2008, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-6) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the House on June 4, 2008, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that revises details based on extensive testimony and "fine tuning." The main substance of the bill as previously described is not changed. This version was subsequently superseded by another substitute with more changes. The substitute failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Substitute offered by Rep. Rebekah Warren (D) on June 4, 2008, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that revises details based on extensive testimony and "fine tuning." The main substance of the bill as previously described is not changed. Among changes, this version would not incease permit fees or extend the time the DEQ has to issue or deny a permit, and would not lower the permit requirement threshold from 2 million gallons to 1 million gallons per day for waters other than the Great Lakes. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Martin Griffin (D) on June 4, 2008, to not "tie-bar" the bill to the other bills in the House groundwater regulation package, meaning those bill need not become law for this one to become law. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Brian Palmer (R) on June 4, 2008, to tie-bar the bill to Senate Bill 776, meaning this bill cannot become law unless that one does also. SB 776 is a "partial birth abortion" ban. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Daniel Acciavatti (R) on June 4, 2008, to tie-bar the bill to House Bill 5627, meaning this bill cannot become law unless that one does also. HB 5627 would repeal the 21.99 percent Michigan Business Tax surcharge imposed on businesses in the fall of 2007. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Jacob Hoogendyk, Jr. (R) on June 4, 2008, to tie-bar the bill to House Bill 4660, meaning this bill cannot become law unless that one does also. HB 4660 would establish in law the right of a health care provider to refuse to participate in certain health care services (including abortions) due to ethical, moral or religious objection. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Jacob Hoogendyk, Jr. (R) on June 4, 2008, to tie-bar the bill to Senate Bill 1059, meaning this bill cannot become law unless that one does also. SB 1059 would prohibit a girl under age 18 whose petition for a waiver from the parental consent provision of Michigan’s abortion law has been denied by a court to petition a second time. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Brian Palmer (R) on June 4, 2008, to tie-bar the bill to Senate Bill 1049, meaning this bill cannot become law unless that one does also. SB 1049 would authorize sentencing guidelines for the “partial birth abortion” ban proposed by Senate Bill 776. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. David Robertson (R) on June 4, 2008, to eliminate a provision requiring the DEQ to make permit decisions on the basis of a legislative finding that "the waters of the state are held in trust by the state," expand the "grandfather" exemptions for existing groundwater users, eliminate a provision that lowers the threshold for determining whether a permit is required for a withdrawal that might affect certain coldwater streams, and to not "tie-bar" the bill to the other bills in the House groundwater regulation package, meaning those bill need not become law for this one to become law. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
    • Substitute offered by Rep. David Robertson (R) on June 4, 2008. The substitute failed by voice vote in the House on June 4, 2008.
  2. Passed 56 to 52 in the House on June 4, 2008, to create a rebuttable presumption that a proposed groundwater withdrawal would not cause a prohibited "adverse resource impact," if that is the determination of the computer program "assessment tool" described in House Bill 5069.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Motion by Rep. Steve Tobocman (D) on June 4, 2008, to give the bill immediate effect. The motion failed 58 to 50 in the House on June 4, 2008.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  4. Received in the Senate on June 10, 2008.
    • Referred to the Senate Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee on June 10, 2008.

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