Outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday that his top remaining legislative priorities include pushing through trash and water fee increases to pay for environmental cleanup, infrastructure and recycling needs.
The term-limited governor, who met separately with state Senate and House Republicans, said he expects a "busy" lame-duck session — the post-election period before new lawmakers and, in this case, a new governor takes over in January.
At the top of his list is raising the landfill dumping fee and imposing a new state fee on water customers. Two key business groups got behind the proposals in the summer, but they could be difficult to pass in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
The additional revenue would be used to clean up contaminated sites, address perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — known as PFAS — that have tainted drinking water supplies, boost asbestos removal and provide recycling grants. The "tipping" fee would replace the Clean Michigan Initiative, a 20-year-old voter-approved bond issue that is drying up.
Snyder has said the landfill fee would cost households no more than about $4 a year, while the water fee would be capped at no more than $20 annually per household and $400 per business.
He said he also wants to enact a supplemental spending bill, declining to elaborate except to say he could seek to spend more on the PFAS contamination. He did not mention recently enacted laws to raise the minimum wage and require earned sick leave, which business organizations want to scale back.
"I've always had a list," Snyder told reporters. "So at this point, I'm waiting to see what their priorities are, and let's merge them together to see what we can accomplish."
Another legislative issue that could come up before year's end might be the implementation of an agreement between Snyder's administration and Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge to replace twin 65-year-old crude oil pipes that critics have long described as an environmental disaster waiting to happen in a crucial Great Lakes channel. The plan calls for decommissioning the pipes after installing a new line in a tunnel to be drilled beneath the Straits of Mackinac.