Whitmer eliminates DEQ panels providing transparency, accountability | Michigan Farm News

Whitmer eliminates DEQ panels providing transparency, accountability

Category: Politics

by Farm News Media

Whitmer_MFN_2.4.19

Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB), the state’s largest general farm organization, is expressing concern over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order released today making numerous changes to core environmental and rulemaking government functions and responsibilities.

MFB President Carl Bednarski voiced disappointment on behalf of the organization’s more than 42,000 farmer members regarding Gov. Whitmer’s decision to abolish three oversight committees—created just last year—to increase transparency and accountability with the Department of Environmental Quality; now the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, led by Liesl Eichler Clark.

“It’s unfortunate for Michigan residents and businesses that the Environmental Science Advisory Board, Environmental Rules Review Committee and Environmental Permit Review Commission were eliminated prior to even having the opportunity to function,” Bednarski said. “The structure developed was focused on finding cooperative solutions, based on the rule of law and supported by science, to maintain environmental protection without creating undue regulatory burdens.

“Our members—utilizing their grass-roots policy—look forward to working with our legislative partners, the Whitmer administration and new Department leadership to ensure the food and agriculture industry can continue producing safe, affordable and abundant food, fiber and fuel within the new structures outlined by the Governor.”

Through her Executive Order, Gov. Whitmer also extends authority to the director of the new Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to create, “science review boards” on an “as needed” basis.

“While the science review boards appear to have similarities to the pre-existing Environmental Science Advisory Board, it’s important for our members to note the boards are appointed at the discretion of the director rather than the governor and can be called upon for any topic and at any time the director deems appropriate,” Bednarski added.

Additionally, Michigan Farm Bureau will closely monitor implementation of the new (or transitioned) Office of Climate and Energy, Office of Clean Water Public Advocate, Office of the Great Lakes, Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate, and Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules.

Michigan Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization, serving to represent, protect and enhance the business, economic, social and educational interest of our more than 42,000 members. Learn more about our programs at www.michfb.com. In 2019 MFB will turn 100 and celebrate its Bold History and Bright Future throughout the year; learn more about our centennial at mfb100.com.