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Controversial bills creating industry oversight for DEQ rules and permitting, pass House

Gillian Thomas

The Michigan House has passed a controversial set of bills that would set up industry panels to oversee DEQ rulemaking and permitting.

Supporters of the move say it gives industry representatives some much-needed input in the rulemaking process.

Sean Hammond is the Deputy Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council. He said the bills still give too much power to the industry members who might sit on a panel.

“What this does is this still takes away power from the Governor and the DEQ Director when making permit decisions.”

Hammond said the bills also set up a complicated bureaucracy for overseeing DEQ rules and permits - and the current process, he said, works just fine.

“The process right now involves multiple stakeholders multiple drafts back and forth with the stakeholders. We think the current process works pretty well.”

Bill sponsors could not be reached for comment.

The bills as passed out of the house were amended from the original versions. Under the new proposal, industry panelists overseeing the DEQ rulemaking process would serve largely in an advisory position, with no veto power.

The bills return to the Senate where they need approval before heading to the Governor’s Desk.