Lt. Gov. Brian Calley today signed legislation providing important controls on what materials can be burned in rural residential burn barrels around the state.
While some municipalities have existing regulations prohibiting the practice of burning household garbage, residents in many areas of the state are not regulated. Michigan is the last Great Lakes state that allows rural residents to dispose of household waste in burn barrels.
House Bill 4207, sponsored by state Rep. Ken Kurtz, amends two sections of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to prohibit the uncontrolled burning of plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, elecronics, chemicals or hazardous materials.
"This legislation is long overdue to protect the health of all Michigan residents," Calley said at the signing ceremony outside the Department of Environmental Quality's Lansing Headquarters, where he attended an annual Earth Day celebration with more than 2,000 Michigan grade-school children. "It does not prohibit all burning, but it does target the substances most dangerous to public health."
Rural residents can still burn yard waste like brush and leaves, and common household waste like cardboard and paper products.
Violators will face a civil infraction with penalties ranging from a warning on their first offense to a $300 fine for repeat offenders.
The new law provides an important tool to help rural law enforcement officers mitigate neighbor disputes related to the health effects of burning toxic material.
H.B. 4207 is now Public Act 102.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bill.