Working For A Healthy Environment
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We are into week two of lame duck* with two weeks left to go. As promised, we have an update for you on what is happening at the Capitol. It’s not pretty.
*Lame duck: a period of time when successors have been chosen for elected officials. Politicians who will be leaving their position remain in power until they are officially replaced on inauguration day.
This is the second installment of our Capitol Countdown to the New Year. Through the end of the year, we’ll be keeping track and reporting back to you on lame duck legislation that will either hurt or help the health of Michigan’s people and environment. We have also created forms that make it simple and fast for you to email your state lawmakers (see the links below).
We have a huge and urgent problem. The Michigan House is poised to vote on a bill that would bar any state agency from setting more protective standards than the federal government. House Bill 4205, also known as “No Stricter than Federal,” was taken up in the Michigan House this week, after sitting stagnant for more than a year. We successfully held off a vote for now, but the bill will be back up next week and pressure is mounting on legislators to vote yes.
On Wednesday, November 28, the Senate Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on SB 1211 introduced by Senator Tom Casperson. Michigan Environmental Council, as well as many other environmental organizations, are strongly opposed to this bill. SB 1211 will completely overhaul how Michigan’s wetlands, inland lakes and streams are regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Currently, Michigan is one of two states with delegated authority from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to administer the Clean Water Act. Michigan’s program is already noncompliant with federal standards, and SB 1211 will push us further out of compliance. The result is increased degradation of our water quality and the elimination of lakes and wetlands vital for ecological health and outdoor recreation. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in response: