LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV) — along with a diverse array of business leaders, lawmakers and advocates — denounced the State Legislature’s passage of the “Fox Guarding the Henhouse Acts” (SB 652-653), which would create two oversight panels within the DEQ that have a powerful say over environmental rulemaking and permit decisions. The bills now move to the governor’s desk.
“These problematic bills still give polluters and special interests a powerful, unnecessary influence in deciding how many toxins can be sent up smokestacks and how much contamination is considered ‘safe’ to drink,” said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director at Michigan LCV. “Instead of relying on science to guide decisions that impact our land, air and water, this legislation gives polluters undue influence over the state agency charged with protecting our communities and natural resources.”
“This legislation could unfairly advantage a handful of businesses and lobbying firms with political connections, all while circumventing the elected Legislature and most importantly, jeopardizing the natural resources that power not just our state’s economy, but the livelihood of thousands of small Michigan businesses,” said Andy LaBarre, Executive Vice President & Director of Government Relations at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber.
“I’m disappointed that the State Legislature approved these bills – they do not benefit our state’s economy or our people,” said Representative Erika Geiss (D-Taylor). “As communities across Michigan discover new sources of toxic chemicals in their air and water, the last thing we should do is put special interests in charge of the health of our communities.”
“What corporation wouldn’t want to design their own regulations and rubber stamp permits?” said Mike Ripley, Environmental Coordinator for the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority. “This is just the latest in a series of legislative attempts to weaken Michigan’s environmental protections. As the communities across Michigan who face the very real dangers of polluted air and water can attest, the stakes are incredibly high. This constant barrage of bad ideas coming from our State Legislature needs to stop.”
“Adopting the recently released set of recommendations to Gov. Snyder on environmental justice would do the state and the economy far more good than these bills. It’s well-documented that preventable illnesses and deaths related to ineffective enforcement are already creating a drag on our economy statewide to the tune of tens of billions of dollars per year,” said Guy O. Williams, President & CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. “The people of our state need improvements made to the regulatory system, but these proposals if adopted would move us in exactly the wrong direction.”
Contact: Katie Parrish, Communications Director, (239) 537-9507