Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2019-06 on February 20, 2019, creating the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The Executive Order took effect on Monday, April 22, 60-days after its submission to the Legislature.
Under the Executive Order, MDEQ reorganizes as EGLE and assumes many activities of the Michigan Agency for Energy through the creation of the new Office of Climate and Energy within EGLE. The Office of the Great Lakes also moves from the Department of Natural Resources into EGLE.
Other notable changes under the reorganization include the creation of an Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team, which will assist in developing, implementing, and regularly updating a statewide environmental justice plan. The creation of an Environmental Justice Public Advocate position who will accept and investigate complaints and concerns related to environmental justice in Michigan. An Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate is also created to accept and investigate complaints and concerns relating to drinking water quality.
ELGE Director Liesl Clark stated, “The 1,200 people from MDEQ, the Office of the Great Lakes, and Michigan Agency for Energy stand united around a common purpose of protecting the state and its resources, including Michigan’s most important resource, its people.” Clark said, “EGLE’s shared mission will be built on a common foundation of protecting and conserving Michigan’s treasured resources and contributing to healthy and vibrant communities throughout the state.”