As Michigan prepares for Earth Day, Senate panel votes to slash bedrock environmental safeguards
Budget cuts approved Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee would slash essential programs that protect Michigan residents from tainted drinking water and toxic groundwater contamination, the Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan League of Conservation Voters said.
The proposed cuts to Department of Environmental Quality programs include a $14.9 million reduction in funds to address contaminated sites around the state and a $2.6 million cut to enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water Act as it pertains to lead in drinking water.
"If allowed to go forward, these cuts will erode the basic protections we all count on for safe drinking water," said Chris Kolb, MEC president. "The obvious lesson from the Flint water crisis is that we need to do more to ensure that everyone in Michigan has safe drinking water. Instead, these budget cuts will stretch an already-underfunded DEQ even further, with potentially disastrous results for public health and our freshwater resources."
The plan also calls for cutting by $1.4 million Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal for addressing toxic "vapor intrusion" into buildings, an emerging threat to human health that the DEQ estimates affects some 4,000 sites statewide.
"Michigan League of Conservation Voters is extremely disappointed that on the eve of Earth Day the Senate Appropriations Committee gave the OK to deep and unnecessary funding cuts that would undermine bedrock programs that safeguard Michiganders from harmful toxic chemicals," said Charlotte Jameson, MLCV government affairs director. "If you layer these state level cuts on top of the steep cuts that President Trump has proposed on the federal level, you get a recipe for disaster for our air and water. Now is the time for citizens to demand that this Legislature identify sustainable sources of funding for programs that keep our families safe and protect the Great Lakes."
Andy McGlashen, Michigan Environmental Council: 517-420-1908
Cia Segerlind, Michigan League of Conservation Voters: 616-843-6976