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Health, Science and Environment

DEQ staff ask Governor to veto legislation they say would weaken environmental cleanup standards

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More than 80 staff members in the Department of Environmental Quality have sent a letter to Governor Rick Snyder asking him not to sign legislation they say would make Michigan’s environmental standards less protective.

Environmental groups raised concerns about the bill as it moved through the legislature in the Lame Duck but this is the first time DEQ staff have spoken out on the bill.

In their letter, staff said the legislation was developed by and benefitted the regulated community and has “no basis in the protection of health and the environment.”

Officials with the Governor’s office say he will keep the concerns of DEQ staff in mind when reviewing the bill, but the bill has changed in many ways since it was introduced.

DEQ officials declined to comment on the matter.

Republican State Senator Jim Stamas, the bill sponsor, pointed out that the bill does include a process for updating standards. One of the stipulations for updating a standard, however, is that it be at least ten years old.

Stamas also said the cleanup of brownfield sites in Michigan has been limited by disagreement over cleanup standards. He said his bill fixes that problem.