Measures create ‘Environmental Leader’ program

LANSING — A four-bill package designed to reduce regulations and provide incentives for businesses that volunteer to become certified “environmental leaders” was introduced in the Michigan Senate Thursday, said key sponsor Sen. Arlan Meekhof.

Senate Bills 939-942 would create the “Environmental Leaders” program within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The measures are aimed to reduce cumbersome regulations on job providers that choose to go above and beyond current state environmental requirements.

“The job providers I know want to protect the environment and our natural resources,” said Meekhof, Senate Majority Floor Leader. “The Environmental Leaders program can play a key role by incentivizing them to take the next step.”

Becoming an environmental leader would be voluntary and would require significant time and investment, including operating in accordance with an approved environmental management standard and creating a pollution prevention program.

Environmental leaders would be rewarded with incentives such as:

·         Less frequent inspections;

·         Increased notification of inspections;

·         Extended length of permits;

·         Preference for state contract bidding; and

·         Protection against civil fines.

“The goal of this legislation is to reward those businesses who choose to be more environmentally responsible,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “It also prioritizes state resources by reducing the number of inspections on companies that are doing the right thing on their own.”

Senate Bills 939-942 were referred to the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee for consideration.