Chamber-Backed Legislation to Reform the DEQ on the Move

The Michigan Chamber recently partnered with the Michigan Farm Bureau to develop legislation to reform the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The three-bill package to increase stakeholder engagement and transparency in the DEQ's rule making process, received its first hearing last week, where the Michigan Chamber provided testimony. View a brief video update featuring Jason Geer, Director of Energy & Environmental Policy for the Michigan Chamber. 


Detroit skyline

A key provision in the Clean Water Act (CWA) prevents discharge of pollutants into navigable waters, which is defined to be the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The WOTUS language is, therefore, a trigger for determining whether the Federal CWA will apply to many discharges, wetlands, and other activities.

Incentives for Urban Redevelopment – Brownfields and Beyond

The recent improvements in the real estate market, and the shift toward city living, have made urban real estate redevelopment more desirable. However, with the uncertainties and increased costs of redevelopment, incentives are still a necessary component of many projects. Not only do these programs provide funding for extraordinary brownfield costs, but they can provide funding for construction, infrastructure, site preparation, and operating costs if a financing gap exists.

Employer Responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers must provide their workers with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers must first try to eliminate or reduce hazards by making feasible changes in working conditions rather than relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs.

Do You Have a PIPP?

Facilities that store oil and polluting materials above certain quantities require a PIPP (Pollution Incident Prevention Plan). Polluting materials include oils of any kind, salt, and chemicals listed in Rule 9 and mixtures containing more than 1% of these materials.

A PIPP is required if your facility exceeds the following thresholds:

Recycling Market Development: Creating a Supply Chain for Michigan Businesses

Every day, Michiganders throw valuable commodities like paper, metal and plastic in the garbage for a one-way trip to a landfill. Meanwhile manufacturers are spending money on the same materials to incorporate into their products.

In fact, Michiganders dispose more than $435 million dollars of recyclable paper, metal, glass and plastic every year. Those buried resources represent wasted energy, economic value and jobs.

Key Changes Made to Part 201 Rules

In the 2014 “lame duck” session, the Michigan Legislature passed Amendments to Part 201 (Environmental Remediation) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). Governor Snyder signed them into law in January 2015 as Public Act 542, which creates new definitions and amends current provisions regarding remediation and cleanup at sites where hazardous substances have been released.

Here are some of the key changes made to Part 201:

Updates to OSHA’s Part 1904 - Reporting and Recordkeeping Rules

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s September 2014 updated recordkeeping rule includes two key changes. First, the rule expands the list of severe work-related injuries and illnesses that all covered employers must report to OSHA. The revised rule retains the current requirement to report all fatalities within 8 hours and adds the requirement to report all inpatient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours to OSHA.