- Chuck Leavell: Growing A Better America: Smart, Strong and Sustainable
"We're experiencing phenomenal growth in America, but as we go forward is that growth going to be rapid, rampant, and reckless or can it be smart, strong, and sustainable?"
- Michigan man translates environmental research for public via YouTube
Dozens of leading scientists advise Sinclair, he says, and have began inviting him to join their international research and data-gathering explorations. "They know that they're challenged by communication," he says, "and they know that's a skillset that just a lot of them don't have."
- Pure Michigan Focuses on Conservation, not Preservation
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, she says, the MUCC unites citizens to conserve, protect and enhance our natural resources through communication, education and advocacy. "We really want to protect peoples' rights to hunt and trap, we want to engage people," McDonough says, "and we want to help people foster a stewardship ethic."
- WMEAC and Grand Valley to Recognize Outstanding Women Environmentalists
The West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) and Grand Valley State University are presenting the second annual Women & Environment Symposium on Friday, Feb. 15 at the L.V. Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids.
- Impressive Local Conservancy Helps Ensure Chippewa Riverís Future Well-Being
The CWC has developed an excellent interactive, web-based map of the Chippewa River, from Barryton to Midland. Also available in hard copy, the digital map provides, at the click of your mouse, clear and succinct information on a number of recreational venues along the river.
Governor Snyder Signs New Undergound Storage Tank Bills into Law
On May 1, 2012, Governor Snyder signed several bills that revamp Michigan's laws regulating response to contamination from underground storage tanks (USTs). Michigan reportedly has something like 9,100 leaking UST sites, also known as LUST sites. The purpose of the revised statute is to provide for quicker resolution of LUST sites and some finality for those who cleaning up those sites.
USTs are governed by both federal and state law. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates USTs under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The State of Michigan is authorized to regulate USTs under Part 213 of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). The version of Part 213 prior to May 1, 2012 can be found here.
Governor Snyder signed a series of bills that change the landscape of UST regulation. The changes are quite extensive; however, there are several significant changes that owners and operators of USTs should find beneficial in obtaining final closure of LUST sites. The new Part 213 provisions apply retroactively. Also, the amendments incorporate due care and non-exacerbation requirements which are similar to those requirements under Part 201 of the NREPA, which pertains to responses to environmental contamination at non-LUST sites. If an owner of a LUST site has knowledge of a release, it is obligated to provide written notice to the transferee of that condition. Finally, the new Part 213 provisions incorporate the liability avoidance provisions of Part 201.
Part 213, in its current and former form, have specific requirements for reporting on the progress of investigation and cleanup. However, unlike the former Part 213, the new requirements place specific burdens on MDEQ to either timely audit final closure reports or forgo any audit, thereby finalizing the cleanup process. Once the MDEQ receives a final assessment report and closure reports, it has 90 days to determine if it chooses to audit those reports. If it decides to audit the report, MDEQ has 180 days from the date of submission to complete the review. If it elects not to audit the report, the report is considered approved and may not be audited again. If a report is rejected by MDEQ, the owner or operator may submit the report to a technical review panel or seek an administrative hearing.
The number of changes to Part 213 are too numerous to fully explore given the space here. However, it is clear that the revised Part 213 offers a more streamlined approach to resolving open LUST sites and offer some certainty and finality with respect to closures and MDEQ's review of those closures. One new provision that may become part of Part 201 when the legislature turns its attention to Part 201 is a provision that prevents MDEQ from utilizing guidance, bulletins, and operational memoranda instead of rules promulgated under the Administrative Procedures Act.
The author, Saulius Mikalonis, is an environmental attorney with over 25 years of experience in the Bloomfield Hills offices of Plunkett Cooney. He is also the author of The Green Blawg, in which he writes about environmental law issues for the non-lawyer. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Mikalonis is an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills Campus, at which he teaches a course entitled "Sustainable Development Law & Policy" and a former Board Member of the Detroit Regional Chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).