MEC blasts Senate passage of bills that put environmental quality in the hands of polluters
The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) issued the following statement in opposition to SB 652 and SB 653, two bills that would delegate Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s rulemaking and permit authority -- some of the most important functions in state government -- to individuals that represent the regulated industries.
“The individuals appointed to these boards will represent business interests that directly profit off the discharge of pollutants into Michigan’s air and water,” said James Clift, MEC policy director. “Individuals representing companies like Enbridge Energy would have the final say in how much oil they have to clean up when things go wrong.”
SB 652 and SB 653 would create two new boards, one in charge of administrative rules, the other with oversight over new permits. As opposed to the DEQ director, who serves at the will of the Governor, these individuals could only be removed for cause. There is also no requirement that panel members reside in Michigan -- giving outside special interests the power to shape Michigan's environmental regulations and clean up standards.
“We urge the House to oppose both bills. If enacted, these bills will erode government accountability,” continued Clift. “If the Governor and department directors appointed to implement laws do not have the final say in permitting or rulemaking, they can easily say that final decision-making was not in their hands.”
“These oversight boards are not needed. If the legislature disagrees with specific administrative rules or the implementation of a particular permitting program, they may amend the implementing statute to make any alteration they believe is warranted.”