The Senate followed the House’s lead by voting to reject an Executive Order (EO) changing environmental oversight in Michigan. On a party line vote, the Senate adopted a House Concurrent Resolution that blocks Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s EO making changes within the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Announced last week, Executive Order 2019-2 would restructure DEQ as the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. It created new offices within the department, including the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate, the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate, and the Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team. Furthermore, it would have created a new office of climate and energy that would work with the governor to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and embrace more sustainable energy solutions. However, the portion of the EO that Republicans voiced the most concern over would have eliminated the Environmental Rules Committee, the Environmental Permit Review Committee, and the Environmental Science Advisory Board. The three panels were enacted by the legislature last year. The governor has asked Attorney General Dana Nessel to issue a formal opinion on the legality of the Environmental Rules Review Committee and the Environmental Permit Review Commission.
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