Granholm signs toughened mining law

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, December 28, 2004

By Staff
LANSING - Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm Monday signed a new law that will toughen Michigan's mining regulations, updating antiquated provisions and reflecting a comprehensive approach to regulation that was developed cooperatively between the mining industry and leading environmental groups in the state.
The new law is the result of a cooperative effort initiated by the Granholm administration between the mining industry and environmental groups who worked together with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop a comprehensive law.
The new law (House Bill 6243-Public Act 449) grants exclusive authority to the DEQ to regulate underground and surface mining and reclamation for nonferrous metals, such as nickel and zinc sulfide.
The law would not impact iron mining operations at Cleveland Cliffs' Tilden and Empire mines.
The new law:
Contains a strenuous permitting process that would require a thorough baseline assessment and detailed plans for mining, reclamation and responding to accidents.
Provides extensive opportunities for public input.
Requires financial assurance from mining companies to cover remediation and reclamation costs in the event the DEQ had to take over those activities.
Requires that at the end of a mine's life, the site and surrounding area would have to be reclaimed to establish a self-sustaining ecosystem that does not require perpetual care.
Requires post-closure monitoring to assure that any future environmental problems are identified and remediated.
Includes strict and comprehensive administrative, civil and criminal enforcement tools.
The new law takes effect immediately.
The following bills were also filed with the Office of the Great Seal today:
House Bill 4969 - Public Act 445
Expands the Family Independence Agency first-time home purchase individual development account program to include accounts for post-secondary education and business capitalization.
House Bill 6242 - Public Act 446
Limits school districts annexed by a community college that can elect a trustee to those annexed before July 1, 2004.
House Bill 4817 - Public Act 447
Revises deadline for filing a discharge of mortgage with register of deeds and revises penalties for noncompliance with deadline.