Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a revised Executive Order (EO) on Wednesday, 2/20/19, which removed MMA-opposed provisions to eliminate advisory panels statutorily created by the Legislature in 2018.
The new EO, Executive Order 2019-6, contains many provisions reorganizing state government and consolidating several functions to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The EO had previously, as Executive Order 2019-2, sought to eliminate three advisory panels to oversee the permit process, the rules process and a science review board — an action which led to the Legislature rejecting the original EO under House Concurrent Resolution 0001.
“We are encouraged by Governor Whitmer’s willingness to hear the concerns of manufacturers and provide a new Executive Order that continues to protect panels which provide more transparency and accountability in the permit and rule process,” said Bill Lievense, an environmental and regulatory consultant for MMA and a lobbyist for Capitol Group.
MMA objected to the original EO for two fundamental reasons. First, the elimination of the panels was believed to have exceeded the Governor’s authority under the Michigan Constitution. Second, MMA supported the intent of the panels to provide greater transparency and accountability.
While the future of these panels has been protected, the new EO does lack a clear definition to the term “environmental justice,” a phrase drawing concern from both MMA and members of the Legislature, including Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake).
“The subjective nature of this term does create a continuing concern for employers,” said Lievense. “We are pleased that the new EO properly protected the permit and rules process and we’ll continue to work with the Legislature and Governor Whitmer to flesh out a proper understanding of the ‘environmental justice’ phrasing.”
Contact Bill Lievense of Capitol Group, at 616-581-8025 or firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions and to learn more about this issue.