Dioxin bill passes in Senate committee
By Kathie Marchlewski, Midland Daily News

It's passed the first hurdle -- the State Senate's Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs committee -- with a change and is on its way to the full Senate.

State Rep. John Moolenaar's latest dioxin-related legislation, House Bill 5872, was passed in the House last summer by a bipartisan, unanimous vote of all members. As it heads to a vote of the full Senate, a change allows the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality more flexibility in information used to calculate its dioxin contamination cleanup criteria.

The bill originally would have required the state to recalculate the criteria based on a report released in July by the National Research Council of the National Academies.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality suggested a substitute, which was passed, that included that the Department "may" recalculate cleanup criteria for dioxin based on the new information.

The NAS review of the Environmental Protection Agency's 15-year-long dioxin reassessment confirmed that dioxin is a toxic substance, but questioned the level at which it is harmful and the methods used to figure it out.

Moolenaar, who was not able to attend the Senate meeting Tuesday because of House duties, said he prefers the original version, which he considered "a statement of law that will require (reconsideration)."

But DEQ officials want to be able to use other relevant information as well. "We're going to look at the recommendations in the report and any other information that is out there to make decisions," spokesman Bob McCann said. "The NAS study is a piece of that puzzle. As (the bill) was passed, it emphasizes our work in using the best available data to make decisions."

İMidland Daily News 2006

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