2015-2016 Legislative & Regulatory Accomplishments

Mission: Represent our members to influence policies that promote and grow a safe, environmentally responsible, and competitive business of chemistry in Michigan.

ENERGY

Promoting Competitive Energy Policies – During the two-year legislative debate on energy policy, the MCC aggressively advocated for increased competition and ratepayer protections. With regular input from members, the MCC worked to educate lawmakers on the importance of controlling Michigan’s energy costs. The MCC’s efforts included numerous testimonies in committee, press communications and outreach, and meetings and site tours with lawmakers and administration officials alike. During the final negotiations, the MCC helped ensure that the legislation would preserve Michigan’s electric choice program to the greatest extent possible, and that ratepayers would get the best value on their investment for new power plants.

Industrial Cogeneration Policy – The MCC has also worked specifically to help advance policies promoting the use of cogeneration by member facilities. We helped secure provisions in the energy legislation that would require utility long-term plans to consider cogeneration resources, and have participated in ongoing workgroups to evaluate cogeneration potential for the state.

Energy Recovery – The MCC worked closely with the American Chemistry Council and other partners to promote the use of energy recovery technologies for difficult-to-recycle-waste in the state. The use of such technologies will be authorized and incentivized by the pending energy bills, and would also be better accommodated by proposed revisions to MDEQ solid waste rules.

Energy Efficient Building Codes – The MCC and its members helped to secure the final implementation of a long-awaited update to Michigan’s residential building code, which would greatly increase the use of energy efficiency products. The MCC also continues to advocate for the imminent implementation of updated energy efficiency standards for commercial construction, and to support federal efforts by the ACC to protect building code standards.

Energy Infrastructure – The MCC has supported coalition efforts to promote the development of needed energy infrastructure, including new natural gas pipelines in the Midwest.

ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, & SAFETY

Remediation & Redevelopment – The MCC worked with other industry groups to help address concerns with proposed revisions to Michigan’s environmental clean-up law, Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). An initial rules proposal would have significantly increased the burden and cost of remediation activities for member companies. However, subsequent to industry’s outreach, the MDEQ has delayed final promulgation of the rules package until ongoing issues can be addressed through a stakeholder process.

Air Toxics – The MCC and its members supported several proposed reforms that would have streamlined administrative compliance with Michigan’s air toxics program. While the MDEQ in April of 2016 rejected many of these changes, the forthcoming rules will still provide several beneficial permit exemptions.

Liquid Industrial Waste & Hazardous Waste Updates – The MCC and its members helped develop new amendments to Michigan’s Part 121 liquid industrial waste statute, which is now known as “liquid industrial byproducts” and which no longer requires the use of a uniform hazardous waste manifest. These changes (SB 400-402) became effective in March of 2016. The MCC also helped provide comments on proposed amendments to the MDEQ’s Part 111 hazardous waste program, which is authorized under RCRA. The MCC continues to advocate for sound reforms to the state program.

Regulatory Reform – The MCC continues to support reasonable reforms to Michigan’s administrative rules promulgation process. In 2016, the MCC supported legislation (HB 5613) that would require state agencies to justify any proposed rules that are stricter than applicable federal guidelines.

Storage Tank Rules – The MCC participated in a stakeholder workgroup process to guide Michigan’s adoption of new underground storage tank rules. The workgroup is also considering possible reforms to billing and inspections for storage tank operators.

PRODUCT & MARKETPLACE ISSUES

TSCA Reform – The MCC actively supported efforts to update the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a significant effort that has been years in the making. The MCC helped to provide comments and organized a broad coalition of Michigan industries to support the legislation, and met with many of our federal lawmakers to urge their action. The new act signed into law in June of 2016 will strengthen confidence in the EPA’s chemical management program, as well as preempt certain state-level chemical regulations.

Infrastructure & Plastic Pipes – As Michigan and other states evaluate the need for improved water infrastructure, the MCC has spearheaded efforts to expand opportunities for plastic (PVC & HDPE) pipes. As a stakeholder in the Governor’s Infrastructure Commission, the MCC helped develop recommendations for greater market access in the state, and is working with the ACC on potential legislation to require open competition for plastic pipes.

Microbeads – The MCC led efforts in Michigan to block adverse proposals and to instead adopt model legislation for the phase-out of plastic microbeads in personal care products. Ultimately, federal legislation negotiated by Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) was enacted to provide for a uniform nationwide standard.

Bio-based Purchasing – The MCC worked to counter proposed legislation (HB 4850) that would have provided a state purchasing preference for “bio-based” products. As written, the legislation would have disfavored other Michigan-made products, and the MCC expressed concerns with any proposal to provide preferential treatment for certain products to the disadvantage or disparagement of others.

Plastics Recycling – The MCC has led efforts in Michigan to promote the responsible recycling of plastic products and packaging. The MCC supported legislation (SB 853) to ensure statewide uniformity for the regulation of plastic containers, and is working with ACC and the MDEQ to develop a pilot program to encourage greater recycling of plastic films and wraps in the state.

HOMELAND SECURITY & SITE SAFETY

Drone Regulations – The MCC led efforts in the state of Michigan to adopt responsible protections from drone interference at critical facilities, including chemical plants. The MCC helped secure in pending legislation (SB 992) the establishment of a workgroup to study the drone issue and make recommendations for proposed state regulations. The MCC will continue to advocate on behalf of critical facilities on this issue.

Guns in the Trunk – The MCC worked with other concerned interests to thwart legislation (HB 5574) that would have prohibited a Michigan employer from regulating the possession of personal firearms in vehicles parked on company property, including inside secured chemical facilities.