By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

Since December 31, 2006, other than rules relating to ballast water authorized in section MCL 324.3112,

the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has been prohibited from promulgating new/additional rules under Part 31 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). The prohibition was enacted by the legislature in 2004 via Public Act 91. The mood of the legislature back then was that only lawmakers should develop regulations impacting the environment. The prohibition has hampered the work EGLE does to protect our environment, especially our lakes and streams.

House Representative Emily Dievendorf introduced a bill to change that. House Bill 5205 would amend section 3103 of NREPA to remove a prohibition on EGLE from promulgating rules under Part 31 of NREPA (Water Resources Protection) that are not specifically authorized in statute.

The bill was referred to the Committee of Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation. Hearings were held on November 8, 2023, and January 18, 2024. So far, no votes have been taken. Many organizations have offered testimony and public comments on this bill. The positions taken have been both pro and con. MLSA is keeping a close eye on this bill.

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