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Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

Mercury free: Legislation signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in late 2006 outlaws several types of mercury-containing medical devices in Michigan. The move helps keep this dangerous neurotoxin out of our landfills and incinerator emissions.

Live fire dies: A U.S. Coast Guard plan to conduct live-fire machine gun training exercises throughout the Great Lakes was scuttled after intense opposition from throughout the basin. The firing would have deposited significant and unregulated amounts of toxic lead into the ecosystem.

Working together: Michigan’s first official joint planning commission (under the new Joint Municipal Planning Act) was recently established in Muskegon County. The Muskegon County North Central Joint Planning Commission includes Laketon, Dalton, Fruitland, Blue Lake, and Muskegon Charter Townships. MEC and PIRGIM (now Environment Michigan) championed passage of the Joint Municipal Planning Act in 2003 to help improve land use decision-making in Michigan.

Nuclear meltdown: The state postponed its request to purchase the former Big Rock Point nuclear power plant site for use as a state recreation area after MEC and its allies pointed out serious shortcomings in the plan. Unresolved questions about dangerous nuclear waste stored nearby, liability and the extent of past contamination were cited by opponents as reasons to put the brake on the initiative.

Billboards bounced: Legislation passed into law in late 2006 restricts the proliferation of billboards along Michigan’s scenic byways. Scenic Michigan was at the forefront of this landmark measure.

Pop-up smackdown: SB 1004 was signed by the governor on Dec. 7, 2006. This important conservation legislation eliminates the “pop-up” tax on lands with qualified conservation easements, the top legislative priority of Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy for 2006. The new law will provide an incentive for private landowners to protect land from development with permanent easements.
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