UPDATE as of 06/13/2023 – These bills did receive a hearing in the House Regulatory Reform Committee today. An H-1 substitute was adopted for HB 4528 which made some technical changes to the bill requested by EGLE. No negotiated changes were made. Additional testimony was taken on the bills, but no vote took place. House Bills 4526, 4527, and 4528 (H-1) all remain in the committee for now.
Thank you for reaching out to your Representatives. Continue to do so until a true negotiated compromise is reached on this issue!
06/09/2023 – This is an update to a previous blog on the aggregate mining issue.
We received word late yesterday a committee hearing and pending vote will take place Tuesday in the House Regulatory Reform Committee followed by a full chamber vote the next day on House Bills 4526, 4527, and 4528.
The League has worked on the sand and gravel mining issue for multiple legislative sessions. We have consistently stated we are open to changes. We have continually provided information to make changes, but once again we are met with bills likely to move without any local input.
Two things are non-negotiable:
- Mining approvals must remain at the local government level, and
- No language can be included that undoes what a court of law has already decided.
We were asked and provided the following ideas to work on toward a compromise:
- Locals work in partnership with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). While the approval process would remain at the local level, EGLE could oversee the environmental permitting factors including groundwater testing and enforcement of the environmental factors for the life of the mine.
- EGLE involvement in the environmental aspects of the reclamation process for a mine.
- Changes to the definition of very serious consequences (VSC) or the factors used to determine if a VSC exists.
- Instituting a reasonable shot clock for responses to a fully completed mining application.
- Clarifying language that a mining permit is good for the life of the mine (as long as the mine remains in compliance) unless it is located in a residential area.
- Changes to the appeal process when a mining permit is denied. We won’t support stopping someone from exhausting all the legal options available to them.
We need you to weigh in and let your state Representatives know the bills they’re being asked to vote on were written by the industry for the industry and do not contain local input.
For municipalities who currently don’t have a sand or gravel mining operation, or don’t think these bills affect your community, they do. The definition of mining area in HB 4528 includes more than the property where sand and gravel is extracted from the ground. You will be preempted from any local regulation and oversight of crushing facilities and storage areas for stockpiles. These auxiliary uses can be located on much smaller areas of land and could pop up anywhere near a road project.
Please contact your state Representatives today to express your opposition and ask them to vote NO!
Jennifer Rigterink is the League’s assistant director of state and federal affairs handling economic development, land use, and municipal services issues. She can be reached at [email protected].