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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Bills Would Change How Extra Bottle Money Is Distributed

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Bills before a state House committee would change how money from unredeemed bottle and can deposits are used.

Most of the money from unclaimed cans and bottles currently goes to a fund to pay for environmental cleanups.

Sean Hammond with the Michigan Environmental Council said that generates 24 million dollars a year for cleanups. Under these bills, most of that money would, instead, be pocketed by beverage distributors.

 “This program needs a better funding source. It, frankly, needs a facelift across the board, but until that happens, we can’t jeopardize the money that it’s getting right now.” Said Hammond.

Brett Visner is with the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers.  Visner said it’s not fair to businesses that had nothing to do with causing pollution to shoulder that cost.

Those are certainly things that there should be money dedicated to, but there is no nexus between beverage containers – beer, wine, and soda distributors – and brownfields.” Visner said.

Hammond said there are other changes to the law that would make sense, including expanding it to include cider and bottled water.

The law was adopted in 1976 to discourage littering. Retailers have long complained about the costs and the burden of storing cans and bottles and redeeming the 10-cent deposit.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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