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GLIN==> Guide to water permitting in Michigan

MDEQ News Release

November 18, 2005       

Contact:   Robert McCann 
                (517) 241-7397

or:        Jill Kimble
           (231) 347-1181, Ext 100
           Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

Helping Citizens Get Involved in Water Quality Permitting

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council are proud to introduce, "A Citizen's Guide to Water Quality Permitting, Understanding the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program and Its Role in Michigan."  Funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation, the guidebook offers citizens the power to positively impact their local communities by helping them participate more fully in water quality permitting and restore the their voice in environmental decision making in Michigan, 

"It is exciting to see this type of tool that will help Michigan's citizens become better informed as to how our permitting process works," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester.  "Understanding the process is the first step in becoming involved and participating in the decisions that result from it."

The guidebook specifically focuses on the NPDES program established under the federal Clean Water Act and as administered in Michigan by the DEQ.  The NPDES program is central to maintaining and protecting the quality of our water resources, though it is only one of several DEQ programs addressing water quality.

"Michigan residents understand that clean water is essential to healthy communities," said environmental attorney Ellen J. Kohler, author of the report.  "Their voices must be part of the water quality permitting process to ensure that the public's interest in our lakes, rivers and streams is protected."

Promoting public involvement in the DEQ has been a priority for Director Chester who convened an Environmental Advisory Council (Council) in March 2003 to advise the department on its major programs and policies.  The Council was given an initial charge of developing strategies to improve the effectiveness of public involvement in DEQ activities, with this guidebook being one resource generated to meet that goal.  

"This manual is a great resource, not only for private citizens, but for any person working in water quality circles in Michigan," said Cortland Overmyer of the Environmental Protection Services Department in the City of Grand Rapids.  "It is the first time that I have seen the 'nuts and bolts' of federal Clean Water Act application in Michigan all in one spot.  This guidebook is a wonderful explanation and compendium of information that will serve to guide and encourage input."

Copies of the citizen's guide can be obtained by calling the DEQ's Environmental Assistance Center at1-800-662-9278 or electronically at Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council's Web site http://www.watershedcouncil.org/.

"Protecting Michigan's Environment, Ensuring Michigan's Future"

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and 
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf 

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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