House Leadership Slashes Funding for Programs that Protect our Water, Land, and Public Health
LANSING - The House appropriations subcommittee passed out their fiscal year 2020 budget for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on a party line vote. In their budget, House Republican leadership took a hatchet to programs that protect Michiganders from environmental and public health threats by cutting an astounding $9 million from Governor Whitmer’s proposal. This comes in sharp contrast to what Senate Republicans supported in their budget for the departments, which included $120 million in general funds for EGLE. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in opposition:
“If enacted, these cuts would undermine the ability of EGLE to protect Michiganders and our environment from toxic chemicals like lead and PFAS,” said Michigan Environmental Council Energy Policy and Legislative Affairs Director Charlotte Jameson. “The House EGLE budget slashes programs that help protect Michiganders from toxic water pollution and ensure we have a well-functioning environmental protection department. We will continue to push House Republican leadership to rise to the contamination challenges facing Michigan’s environment, which means not cutting resources and hamstringing the state agency charged with being our first line of defense in protecting our water and environment.”
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was also subjected to personnel and IT cuts.
“Both of these departments are currently operating with insufficient staff. The budgets passed out of the House subcommittee would further weaken the agencies by asking them to spend additional restricted dollars with less staff,” said Michigan Environmental Council Deputy Policy Director Sean Hammond. “By trying to squeeze ever more work out of state employees, these departments will have slowed response times to environmental health emergencies and permit requests. Furthermore, the cuts to the DNR would only make it more difficult for Michigan residents to participate safely and easily in outdoor activities like camping, fishing, and hiking.”