News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

Environmental Rules Review Committee repeal heads to governor

The Au Sable River draws anglers from all over for fly fishing season. Anglers say the slow-moving river and its consistent hex hatch make it a special place for flyfishing.
Teresa Homsi
A rulemaking committee within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy could soon be no more after the Michigan Senate voted Tuesday along party lines to get rid of the Environmental Rules Review Committee.

Michigan bills to get rid of the state’s Environmental Rules Review Committee are on their way to the governor after passing the state Senate Tuesday.

The committee was created six years ago as an extra check on the rulemaking process for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or EGLE.

It consists of representatives from EGLE, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Department of Natural Resources, as well as 12 governor-appointed stakeholders.

Senator Rosemary Bayer (D-West Bloomfield) said the previous governor used it to delay regulators' decisions.

“The review panel that was created that is under discussion today was designed specifically to allow the governor to appoint members of the business community who did not want environmental regulation and wanted to be to override or avoid those kind of restrictions on their big businesses,” Bayer said during a floor speech ahead of voting on the committee repeal.

The three-bill package passed the Senate along party lines, with Republicans voting against the legislation.

Senator Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Twp) argued that, before the legislation, state environmental regulators had been overzealous.

McBroom said repealing boards like the review committee would reduce the chance for citizen input.

“You want to reform them? You want to give them more teeth? You want to give them a shorter timeline to get things done? Let’s do it,” McBroom said. “But to just go back the way it was and let the bureaucracy run roughshod over the citizens of this state more is a dynamically foolish mistake.”

In the Senate, the bills were referred to the Regulatory Affairs Committee.

Committee Chair Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) said EGLE was the only department whose proposed rules had to undergo an extra review by a committee in the state’s administrative rulemaking procedure.

“Removing this bureaucracy leads to better decisions being made quicker. And we heard testimony in our committee that this panel hasn’t meaningfully changed the rulemaking process,” Moss said.

But, like McBroom, Sen. Roger Hauck (R-Mt. Pleasant), the committee's minority vice chair, said repealing it could lead to overregulation.

“Allowing bureaucracy to run wild with regulations is a surefire way to drive businesses, jobs and people out of our state,” Hauck said.

Colin Jackson is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
Related Content