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Tipping Fee Increase Top Line of EGLE Budget Presentation

February 20, 2024

A top line of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s (EGLE) budget presentation before the House Appropriations Subcommittee focused on landfill tipping fee increases, which would bring in an additional $80 million and create 36 full-time jobs.

EGLE Director Phil Roossaid the budget change is a central funding element for the department’s basic regulatory role and functions surrounding drinking water, contaminated sites and waste management.

Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recommendation, tipping fees would be increased from 36 cents per ton to $5 per ton, which Roos said would bring Michigan closer to the Midwest average of around $5 per ton.

“It’s not like we’re going out on a limb here,” Roos said, “but it’s to have a level playing field, so we’re all working against the same numbers.”

He said raising tipping fees in line with other states is also likely to remove the big incentive for folks in other states and Canadian provinces to dump trash in Michigan landfills.

Roos said Michigan ends up paying the ultimate cost, with lower tipping fees resulting in more contaminated sites across the state that stem from more waste.

Additional funds raised by increasing fees would fund a variety of contaminated site cleanups, he said, including orphan site and brownfield redevelopment grant funding, loans to facilitate responsible reuse and recycling and hazardous waste inspections.

New revenue would be expended in accordance with the Renew Michigan Program’s statutory purposes: environmental remediation and brownfield redevelopment, recycling and solid waste programs.

Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) asked if Michigan residents and businesses would be shouldering the cost of this “more than 1,000% increase” if the fee increase were successful in dissuading out-of-state businesses from using Michigan landfills.

Roos said even if every dollar of the fee were passed along entirely to Michigan residents, it would translate to a cost increase of about $15 to $20 a year for the average family.

An advantage would be that the state would have better control of the waste coming into the state.

A Whitmer briefing memo shared last week included info that 75 percent of the $80 million raised would go to contaminated site clean-up and brownfield redevelopment, and state-restricted Economic Siting funds to increase the lifespan of Michigan landfills. Another 13 percent would go to recycling initiatives and 7 percent would go to landfill operations.

The memo does not specify how the remaining 5 percent would be spent.

Roos said that while EGLE has made substantial progress towards site cleanup across the state, it’s a big task to take on, with 24,000 contaminated sites out there needing attention.

In recent years, he said EGLE has gone from cleaning up around 350 sites a year to around 750, and additional funding in 2024 allowed the department to focus on the biggest and most immediate-risk contaminated sites.

“We’ve done a lot of work in prioritizing the sites so that we can make those determinations with limited dollars,” Roos said. “What we’re looking for is an opportunity to make a dent in the next level of sites, but those that are the highest risk take the most time, and with a little bit more funding and resources to make this happen, I think we can start to break into a whole other tier that can be done very quickly, and you get really started making a dent in those numbers.”


Article courtesy MIRS News for SBAM’s Lansing Watchdog newsletter

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