We have learned that the package of bills, SB 429-431, is expected to be called for a vote during the lameduck session. It is reasonable to assume that the gravel mining lobby, Michigan Aggregate Association, is applying pressure to get these bills passed.
Why is this important
SB 429-431 remove local authority over the permitting and oversight of gravel mines. These bills are NOT necessary, they are weighted in favor of the aggregate industry, and the state agency that would manage the process is not sufficiently staffed or funded to provide oversight. More
There is an alternate bill, HB 4875, that maintains local control while addressing the key concern stated by the aggregate industry lobby. If the House must vote on a bill to streamline the permitting process for a mining company, the House must vote on HB 4875 instead.
What should you do
Take a few minutes and contact as many of these lawmakers as you can:
Your representative (look up your representative here): Michigan House – Home Page;
Rep. Sarah Lightner (Republican)
email@example.com (517) 812-9960
Current House Speaker, Jason Wentworth. He may call this to the floor for a vote. firstname.lastname@example.org
New House leaders, Matt Hall and Joe Tate, who might be able to exert influence over lameduck activity:
New Senate leaders, Aric Nesbitt and Winnie Brinks, who might be able to exert influence over lameduck activity:
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in case it gets to her desk in this session:
- Vote NO on SB 429-431 because you value local control over aggregate mining.
- Vote YES on HB 4875 instead -because it preserves local control AND addresses the key stated concerns of the aggregate industry. It’s safer for residents and fairer for everyone.
- Use any of the reasons we provide plus any of your own.
SAMPLE LETTER: Cut and paste as needed
Dear [insert name of official]:
I am a resident of Parma Township in Jackson County. Like many others here, I am concerned about the potential impact of Bills 429, 430, and 431. These bills, if enacted, would significantly restrict the ability of our township’s elected and appointed officials to oversee permitting and monitoring of gravel mining operations in Parma Township.
I am urging you to vote NO on these bills.
At the least, these bills are unnecessary.
Our elected and appointed officials have demonstrated that they are capable of fairly and diligently managing the permitting, licensing and oversight of an established aggregate mine here – to the benefit of an existing aggregate mine operator and for the safety of local residents.
The township is currently evaluating an expansion to the mine which would allow it to increase its output to over one million tons per year. Simultaneously, the township has discovered and enforced a recent violation in the same operation. It is almost impossible to conceive that a state-based agency could do the same.
Furthermore, the Michigan Aggregate Association claims the state needs more gravel, but as you know, this is far from proven:
• The State of Michigan currently exports more gravel than any other state, which could indicate it has a surplus
• Michigan is one of the few states that has not conducted a geological study to determine where the State’s aggregate resources exist
• The mining industry has repeatedly stated Michigan will run out of gravel unless more mines are opened, yet it has repeatedly used a debunked and discredited report to do so.
• And, in any case, no company should profit at the expense of a community’s health, safety, environment, or property values.
At worst, these bills jeopardize the health, safety, well-being, and property values of residents by placing the responsibility for oversight with an understaffed agency that is based hours away.
Remember that every resident and business in this township relies on private wells, making it imperative that oversight of mining operations be local and response to violation immediate.
As noted by the Michigan Township Association:
- Sand and gravel mining operations are a local issue that impact a community, its residents, its businesses and property owners.
- No two communities are alike.
- State government doesn’t know our community, its interests and concerns, and how best to protect us.
- This legislation would have lasting detrimental consequences in Michigan communities for decades to come.
- The bills unfairly favor the aggregate industry, putting profit over people, to the detriment of our residents, schools and the environment.
We urge you to vote NO to SB 429-431.
[your name, address]