[ Previous Page]  [ Home Page ]

The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



Opinion No. 5784

September 19, 1980


Posting of surety bond

1978 PA 641 requires that a person applying for a sanitary landfill license post a surety bond of a corporate surety authorized to do business in the State of Michigan.

Howard A. Tanner


Department of Natural Resources

Stevens T. Mason Building

Box 30028

Lansing, Michigan 48909

You have inquired whether the Solid Waste Management Act, 1978 PA 641; MCLA 299.401, et seq; MSA 13.29(1), et seq, which requires the posting of a surety bond in favor of the Director of the Department of Natural Resources to assure compliance with the act and rules promulgated thereunder, allows for the acceptance of an alternative such as a letter of credit, cash bond, certificate of deposit, one year renewal bond, escrow account, or bond secured by a personal as opposed to a corporate surety.

1978 PA 641, supra, Sec. 19 provides in part as follows:

'Before the director may issue a license, the applicant shall submit to the director a surety bond in favor of the director to assure operation in accordance with this act and rules promulgated under this act according to the following schedule:

'(a) A surety bond submitted for a sanitary landfill shall be in an amount equal to $4,000.00 per acre of disposal area, but not less than $20,000.00, nor more than $500,000.00. Each bond shall be renewed to provide assurance for the maintenance of the finished landfill site for a period of 5 years after the landfill is completed.'

The above quoted section requires what is commonly referred to as a statutory bond, i.e. a bond which is commanded, provided or required by statute. Commissioner of Insurance v Central West Casualty Co, 301 Mich 427; 3 NW2d 830 (1942).

A suretyship undertaking is essentially a contract by one person or company to be answerable for the payment of some debt or the performance of some act or duty in case of the failure of some other person who is primarily responsible for such payment or performance. McCraw v Union Trust Co, 136 Mich 521; 99 NW 758 (1904).

The Legislature has from time to time required the posting of various types of bonds, some of which require a corporate surety, a personal surety, or simply a surety. See for example the supervisor of wells act, 1939 PA 61, Sec. 6(p); MCLA 319.6; MSA 13.139(6), which requires 'an adequate surety, security or cash bonds. . . .'; and the liquid industrial waste haulers act, 1969 PA 136; Sec. 5, MCLA 323.275; MSA 3.533(105), which requires a surety bond issued by a surety company registered in the State, but the licensee may deposit cash or other acceptable securities.

Words of a statute are to be given their usual and customary meaning. Sanchick v State Board of Optometry, 342 Mich 555; 70 NW2d 757 (1955). Where the language of a statute is clear and explicit, no other than a literal construction should be given to it. MacQueen v City Commission of City of Port Huron, 194 Mich 328; 160 NW 627 (1916); Mason County Civic Research Council v Mason County, 343 Mich 313; 72 NW2d 292 (1955). In the subject act, the Legislature has opted for a 'surety bond' and under the applicable rules of statutory construction the literal meaning of those words must be followed.

It therefore follows that a surety bond must be provided by license applicants, and that other forms of security in lieu of such a bond may not be accepted by the Department of Natural Resources under 1978 PA 641, regardless of any difficulty which licensees may be encountering in obtaining such a bond. Where the provisions of a statute do not leave its meaning in doubt, an argument based on the inconvenience attending such construction can have no weight. Folkers v Powers, 42 Mich 283; 3 NW 857 (1879).

While the Legislature did not expressly require that the surety bond be provided through a corporate surety authorized to do business in this state, it made no provision for a personal surety bond. The provision of a surety bond through a corporate surety authorized to do business in Michigan affords the best protection of the public in furtherance of the purposes of 1978 PA 641, Sec. 19, supra.

It is therefore my opinion that you may only accept a bond of corporate surety authorized to do business in this State.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General

[ Previous Page]  [ Home Page ]