MEC Statement: House’s “No Stricter” bill signals the end of “Pure” Michigan if approved by Senate
Legislation approved Thursday by a Senate panel would demote the Office of the Governor and put the Great Lakes and public health at risk by blocking state leaders from doing anything more than the bare minimum to protect Michigan's environment and natural resources.
The Senate Oversight Committee approved House Bill 4205, which bars Michigan from passing any rule stricter than a federal standard unless the state can demonstrate there are "exceptional circumstances" that justify a more stringent rule. It is the latest version of a proposal repeatedly brought before the state legislature. In 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the measure, and in 2016 it cleared the House but died in the Senate.
"Federal standards often provide only bare minimum, one-size-fits-all environmental safeguards and not the strong protections our Great Lakes and other unique resources require," said Chris Kolb, MEC president. "Time and again, our state leaders have gone beyond the federal minimum to make our state worthy of its Pure Michigan label. This bill would end that tradition, shift the decision-making process to the Trump Administration, and strip the state of its voice in regulations that directly impact our health, quality of life and the legacy we leave for future generations."
If approved, the bill’s requirement to demonstrate “exceptional circumstances” for any regulation higher than the weak federal standards opens the door to costly litigation. Business and industry interests could challenge necessary regulations that protect drinking water, as well as water quality standards in our rivers and streams, eroding the state’s ability to protect public health and our environment.
With new and emerging issues that affect Michigan residents’ health, such as PFAS contamination in Grayling, Plainfield Township and Oscoda, we must not cede our authority to protect residents to the federal government. Following the crisis in Flint, we hope Governor Snyder will again voice his opposition to this bill that strips Michigan of its ability to protect drinking water.
"We have been through this before. Instead of wasting more time making it harder for residents to shape our state's future and protect what we love, lawmakers should work to make Michigan more attractive to families and entrepreneurs who want to live in a place with safe, clean water, and where they can enjoy our state’s abundant natural treasures. We ask our Senators to oppose this disastrous bill which does nothing but make it harder to protect residents from public health threats and enjoy our world-class clean water," Kolb added.