Important environmental input panels will remain in place
State Rep. Jim Lower today praised his colleagues in the Michigan Senate for approving his resolution to block a power grab from the new governor that overstepped the fundamental division of powers between the governor’s office and Legislature. The Michigan House approved the measure last week.
Without House Concurrent Resolution 1, Lower said an executive order issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would have eliminated three important environmental commissions established in statute by the Legislature last year.
“This executive order amounted to a de facto veto of the current law – a clear abuse of her power,” said Lower, of Cedar Lake. “Gov. Whitmer went too far and we have a duty to protect the will of the people and reject any executive order that repeals a law.”
The input panels the governor’s executive order would have abolished were put into law last year to give citizens a much-needed voice in the rule-making process, increasing the transparency and accountability of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Prior to the creation of review committees, citizens and small businesses had no recourse to appeal new rules made by the DEQ and were stuck with the consequences, unless they decided to pursue costly and time-consuming appeals through the courts.
“It’s disingenuous to characterize rejecting this executive order as somehow flying in the face of clean water. Nothing about this decision will hurt the environment,” Lower said. “We all care about clean water, but we also care about injecting common sense into the rules that are put in place. It’s always good to seek a wide array of input from the people who are going to be affected by state regulations.”
Because the Legislature does not have the power to edit individual lines, Lower said the executive order had to be rejected in its entirety.
“I hope the governor’s office will work with us to correct her mistake and remove the pieces of the executive order that went too far,” Lower said. “It is possible to continue to work together on a new executive order and retain the areas where we find common ground.”