Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced appointments to the state’s new Environmental Permit Review Commission. Comprised of 15 members, the commission’s experts have experience in engineering, geology, hydrology, hydrogeology or a field of engineering or science related to air or water.
When appropriate, the DEQ director may call a panel of three commission members, based on their area of expertise, to form an Environmental Permit Panel to review and advise on permit applications.
Among Snyder’s selections are Livingston County Farm Bureau board member and crop farmer Matt Germane, and Washtenaw County Farm Bureau member Evan Pratt.
Off-farm, Germane works as a licensed professional engineer, serving agribusinesses and livestock producers throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Pratt serves as a water resources commissioner and the public works director for Washtenaw County.
According to Michigan Farm Bureau government relations manager, Matt Smego, the advisory group is a direct result of legislation advocated for and supported by Farm Bureau members and their grass-roots developed policy.
“Senate Bills 652-654 were approved by lawmakers to create three new oversight commissions aimed at increasing transparency and accountability within the Department of Environmental Quality,” Smego said. “This commission will help ensure permitting decisions are based on law and rule, and supported by science.”
“This board will work to protect Michigan’s environment by having field experts on the committee carefully review all permits to ensure projects are in the best interest of preserving Michigan’s resources and environment,” Snyder said.
Smego added that the two remaining commissions outlined in the new laws—an environmental science advisory board and environmental rules committee—are likely to be appointed later this year.
Environmental Permit Review Commission members include: