Industry leaders react to Governor’s decision to end DEQ rulemaking oversight panels

Feb 6, 2019

Industry groups are responding to the news Governor Gretchen Whitmer has eliminated oversight panels that would have monitored the state’s rulemaking process for environmental contaminants.

The Governor eliminated the panels as part of a restructuring of the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Matt Smego is with the Michigan Farm Bureau. He said the group is disappointed the panels never had a chance to operate.

“We saw value in trying to increase transparency and accountability of the department by having them interact with a variety of stakeholders that have interest in Environmental Policy.”

Environmental groups raised concerns about the panels saying they would allow industry groups to veto rules they didn’t like.

Liz Kirkwood is with the environmental group, For the Love of Water. She said the Governor’s changeup - which instead favors more input by scientists - is a better idea.

“By having scientists they will make the best regulations that really incorporate a lot of externalized costs that industry has in the past shifted to the public.”

Officials with the Michigan Farm Bureau say the panels wouldn’t have tilted in favor of industry but would have given industry leaders more input into the rules that impact them.

They say industry voices are often left out of the rulemaking process.