Michigan state legislature shift may impact environmental policy
In January, Michigan Democrats will take control of the state House and Senate in what’s been called a historic power shift, but the new makeup of the legislature may also have impacts on environmental policy.
Environmental policy is not always motivated by partisan affiliations. Issues involving water infrastructure have received bipartisan support in the past, but a blue state legislature may spur more action on environmental initiatives.
Nick Dodge is with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV). The MLCV endorsed 69 candidates who recently won seats in the state legislature. Dodge said he’s hopeful these lawmakers can make environmental issues a priority.
“Environmental policy has not been really viewed in the lens that it should be,” Dodge said. “It's about human health, and so I think that this newly elected legislature - and we're going to be working with them on this - will address these issues with that frame.
With the help of federal funding and political will, Dodge said Michigan has an opportunity to address contamination, environmental injustice and climate change through the MI Healthy Climate Plan, as well as strengthen polluter pay laws.
Dodge said environmental policy has not always been a priority with a Republican-majority legislature, but he said voters have shown in this recent election they want lawmakers who are focused on clean drinking water, protecting the Great Lakes and supporting public health initiatives.
“These are issues that are everyday issues for people and issues that go across partisan lines,” Dodge said. “Enacting policies that are protective of our environment and our health [is] good for everyone in Michigan, not just Democrats or Republicans.”