By: Paul J Sniadecki. MLSA Board Director
For the first time in decades, the same party controls Michigan’s Legislative House, Senate, and Governor. That fact could be a good thing for Michigan’s lakes and streams. Several state lawmakers and environmental advocates are telling media reporters they anticipate early action to reverse recent policies they consider bad for the environment.
BRIDGE MEDIA is reporting that among prior legislative creations the following could be in the crosshairs:
- The 2016 law that prevents local municipalities from banning plastic bags or charging a fee for using them.
- The 2018 law (established during the 2018 lame duck legislative session) that prohibits Michigan regulators (EGLE,etc) from adopting rules more stringent than federal standards, except in narrow circumstances. Environmentalists have criticized the law, saying it thwarts efforts to ramp up Michigan’s pollution protections.
- The Environmental Science Advisory Board, Environmental Permit Review Commission, and the Environmental Rules Review Committee, three panels that gave industry new ways to intervene in state environmental decisions. Environmentalists dubbed them “polluter panels,” and prior legislative leaders blocked Whitmer’s attempt to abolish them during her first term.
- Lack of Dam Safety actions. Michigan spent big in 2022 to repair the state’s crumbling dams. But, bills to strengthen Michigan’s lax dam safety laws failed to get similar traction. Members of a state-appointed task force who warned that Michigan’s dams need “immediate attention” to prevent future failures have said the state’s dam safety shortcomings remain a pressing environmental and public safety issue.
MLSA is encouraged by what now might be possible in Lansing. We are reviewing the backgrounds of the new legislative committee members to determine who might be inclined to help our lakes and streams. We are also working to develop allies/partners who we can move forward with on aquatic invasive species funding and control, wake boat issues, and harmful algae bloom (HAB) prevention. We hope to make progress in the year ahead.