Open burning bill encourages cleaner Michigan

With Earth day coming this weekend, Michigan got a little greener today.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed legislation on Thursday 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 stateRep. 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, electronics, chemicals or hazardous materials.

"This legislation is long overdue to protect the health of all Michigan residents," Calley said via a press release today. "It does not prohibit all burning, but it does target the substances most dangerous to public health.

Calley signed the bill at a ceremony outside the Department of Environmental Quality's Lansing Headquarters, where he attended an annual Earth Day celebration with moer than 2,000 Michigan grade-school children.

Earth Day is scheduled for this Sunday, April 22.