Michigan business groups back fee hikes for cleanup, water

Pictured (left to right): State Rep. Larry Inman, Michigan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rich Studley, Gov. Rick Snyder, Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski and state Sen. Mike Nofs
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Key business groups are backing Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed fee hikes to pay for environmental cleanup and water infrastructure needs across Michigan.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Farm Bureau joined the Republican governor at a news conference Thursday to support the $179 million plan, which he first unveiled earlier this year.

“I thank the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau for their strong support in implementing a long-term plan that protects Michigan’s environment and public health,” Snyder said. “I appreciate Rich and Carl showing their support today and look forward to working with our legislative partners on the passage of these important bills.”

Snyder wants the GOP-led Legislature to pass the new or increased fees before he leaves office.

“Investing in Michigan’s environmental infrastructure is good for all Michiganders,” Studley said. “We agree with Governor Snyder that the state of Michigan needs to invest more and more wisely in brownfield site clean-up and water infrastructure improvements. The sooner we work together to address these pressing issues, the less expensive it will be to fix problems. As a state, we need to be making strategic decisions on how to fund the cleanup of contaminated sites as well as make regular investments in water infrastructure to prevent expensive emergencies.”

The plan would raise the landfill dumping fee, costing households no more than $3.99 more per year.

Snyder says Michigan's fee is lowest in the Great Lakes region and would remain below the regional average after being increased.

The new fee would replace a bond issue approved by voters that generated $675 million but is expected to dry up.

“Michigan farmers are the original caretakers of the land and water resources and we pride ourselves as being good stewards to produce a safe and abundant food supply,” Bednarski said. “Michigan Farm Bureau applauds the Governor and the Legislature for focusing efforts on recycling and clean-up programs and to address critical water infrastructure and we look forward to working with the administration and Legislature to get these policies implemented.”

The Michigan Environmental Council is commending the Governor for proposing this legislation. "Michigan Environmental Council is fully supportive of Governor Snyder's proposals, Renew Michigan and Rebuild Michigan,” said MEC President and CEO Chris Kolb. “These two bills will strengthen Michigan’s ability to address current environmental concerns as well as help prevent future threats from arising. They provide vital resources to clean up existing contamination, respond to the growing PFAS crisis, and address other critical water infrastructure needs.”