Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 5, 2012

Michigan in Brief: 12/05/2012

FROM WIRE REPORTS
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Panel OKs changes to recall elections

LANSING — A Michigan House panel has approved legislation that would tighten language related to recall elections and restrict the time period in which people can be voted out of office.

The House Redistricting and Elections Committee on Tuesday voted to send a package of election measures to the full chamber.

One bill would amend a section of state election law to limit recall elections to the two election dates set annually in May and November, and prohibit recalls during the first or last six months of an elected official's term. Another would require that reasons for the recall are stated "factually and clearly," while the current petition is reviewed for "sufficient clarity." Another proposed change calls for a challenger to compete for the office against the official up for recall.

Updated plans for U.P. copper, silver mine

IRONWOOD — Michigan environmental regulators say a company is updating is plans for a copper and silver mine in the western Upper Peninsula.

The Department of Environmental Quality announced Monday that Orvana Minerals Corp. has withdrawn and resubmitted its application for a wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit.

The Copperwood Mine would target 798 million pounds of copper and 3.5 million ounces of silver in an underground deposit near Ironwood.

Environmentalists raised concerns about the company's plans to withdraw large volumes of Lake Superior water and discharge treated wastewater into a creek that feeds the lake. Company officials say a buffer zone will provide adequate protection.

There's a Dec. 18 deadline for comment. The DEQ says this is the last major environmental permit needed before the project can proceed.

Panel delays Blue Cross hearing

LANSING — A House panel has delayed a hearing on a proposal to end Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's tax-exempt status and transform it from a charitable trust to customer-owned nonprofit.

House Insurance Committee Chairman Pete Lund tells The Associated Press Tuesday lawmakers must work out concerns with parts of the legislation. The Republican from Shelby Township declined to specify which parts of the bills caused concerns but says he still aims to send them to the full House floor.

The committee is expected to reconvene this week.