Tag Archive | Senate bill 654

SB 653 creates appeals process enabling industry to overturn DEQ decisions


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SB 653, introduced by Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart), establishes a permit appeals panel with the authority to unilaterally overturn, amend, or approve any permitting decisions made by DEQ.
● Creates a permit appeals panel within the DEQ and smaller committees of the panel
known as appeals boards.
● The appeals panel is made up of 15 members appointed by the Governor. All members
must either: hold a current professional license in engineering, geology, hydrology, or
hydrogeology and have 6 years of professional experience in that field, or have a
master’s degree in engineering or a science related to air and water and 8 years of
professional experience.
● A permit applicant who is aggrieved by a decision by the DEQ regarding the approval ordenial of a permit can appeal that decision to an appeals board by submitting a petition to the director of the DEQ–appeals are only available for permit applicant and do not include other affected groups, community members, etc.
● The Director can try to resolve the dispute without convening an appeals board meeting.
● If the Director is unable to resolve the dispute, then he/she must convene a meeting of
an appeals board.
● An appeals board is made up of 5 members of the appeals panel selected by the
Director for their relevant expertise in the permit subject area.
● The panel holds a hearing on the permit petition and makes a decision regarding the
● Whether the DEQ Director approves of the decision or not, the appeals board has final
decision making authority on all permits brought before it.
● The Director then must issue a final decision that incorporates the appeal board decision into the terms of the permit; if the director fails to do so, it becomes final in 60 days anyway.

SB 654 – Introduced by Senator David Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) delegates authority to the Governor to create an environmental science advisory board (no binding decisionmaking), although the Governor already has the authority to create such a board if he/she desires. While this is not objectionable in and of itself,
because this piece of legislation is tie-barred to SB 652 & 653, the Michigan League of COnservation Voters opposes it. The bill would:.

● Creates an environmental science advisory board within the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget
● The advisory board is made up of 9 members appointed by the Governor who have
expertise in one or more of the following areas: engineering, environmental science,
economics, chemistry, geology, physics, biology, human medicine, statistics, and risk
● The board can advise the Governor on issues affecting the protection of the environment
or the management of the natural resources of the state. The advice the board can
provide is limited to the specific advice requested by the Governor.
● The board cannot review or advise on any application, recommendation, or decision
regarding a permit, license, or environmental impact statement.

Bill 652 creates Environmental Rules Committee stacked to support polluting industries


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Senate Bill 652, introduced by Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) creates an environmental rules review committee–stacked with representatives from polluting industries. This committee will oversee DEQ rulemaking, amend DEQ draft rules, and offer final approval or denial of all environmental rules proposed by the DEQ. This committee will include :

  1. A representative of the solid waste management industry,
  2. A representative of a statewide manufacturing organization,
  3. A representative of a statewide organization that represents small businesses,
  4. A representative of a public utility,
  5. A representative of a statewide environmental organization,
  6. A representative of the oil and gas industry,
  7. A representative of a statewide agriculture organization,
  8. A representative of local government,
  9. A representative of a statewide land conservancy,
  10. One member of the general public, and
  11. One member who is a medical professional.
  • Individuals who are employed by the state or who worked for the DEQ within the proceeding 3 years are not allowed to serve on the environmental rules review committee.
  • Multi-client registered lobbyists are not able to serve on the rules review committee, but registered lobbyists who only represent 1 client can.
  • The Governor makes appointments to the environmental rules review committee and the Michigan Senate has advise and consent authority over those appointments.
  • The director of the DEQ can appoint a science advisor to help advise the rules review committee
  • The environmental rule review committee will oversee all rule-making of the DEQ.
  • A majority of members of the environmental rules review committee can vote to prevent a rule-making from going forward
  • The environmental rules review committee can also vote to make changes to a rules package.
  • The environmental rules review committee has final approval over draft rules

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.