Three new Michigan bills threaten our health and environmental well-being

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Three bills that are anti-DEQ (department of environmental quality), Senate Bills 652, 653, and 654. would create an environmental rules committee and appeal board stacked with industry representatives that would be empowered with DEQ oversight including veto and appeal power on the same rules regulating their own industries.

We know that regulated industries don’t always have public health, natural resource protection, and environmental safety at the top of their priorities compared to financial gains. While relevant stakeholders should have a space in the decision-making process, it is dangerous to hand off all decision-making ability.

Having regulated industries set Michigan’s environmental rules is like trusting the fox to guard the henhouse–it is fundamentally reckless to ask regulated industries to set their own rules when it comes to protecting the health of Michigan families and our natural resources from environmental harm and pollution.

The industry representatives and industry interest groups in these positions benefit directly from lax enforcement of environmental laws, and yet these bills would hand over authority for protecting our state’s environment to these unelected individuals who are on the payroll of polluting industries.

As communities across Michigan that face the very real dangers of polluted air and water can attest, the stakes for bad environmental decision making are incredibly high.

With the Trump Administration dead set on greatly weakening the US Environmental Protection Agency, by further undermining the MDEQ this plan would leave Michigan doubly vulnerable. 5. Without federal, and now, state environmental cops on the beat–who is going to hold polluters accountable when they poison our families or devastate our natural areas? The answer: no one.

“Decades of hard-learned lessons taught Michiganders that we cannot trust polluting industries to put public health and the protection of our air and water quality ahead of their own financial interests. The last thing we should be doing is handing over authority for Michigan’s environmental protections to unelected, unaccountable individuals who have a financial stake in the very industries they would be charged with regulating.” – Lisa Wozniak of Michigan LCV, MIRS News 12/7/17

Tomorrow and Friday, OKT will post more information about each of these three bills.