By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

Some members of the Michigan Senate are seeking to reverse a law enacted during the 2018 lame duck session that hinders state agencies from promulgating rules stricter than federal regulations. The ban on state agency regulations exceeding federal guidelines was narrowly passed in 2018, and requires state agency heads to determine there is a “clear and convincing need” that the federal standard should be exceeded.

Gongwer News Service is reporting Senator Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) told reporters he opposed the current law when he was in the House and has introduced a reversal of the law each session since that time. McCann introduced SB14 of 2023. “I’ve introduced it again in hopes that we can take this off the books and unhandcuff ourselves from the ability to set smart and science-based environmental standards that protect Michigan’s pristine environment and Great Lakes,” Mr. McCann said.  The bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, which has not yet held a hearing on the proposed bill.

MLSA has not yet developed a formal position on SB14. However, we do view SB14 as a possible means for improved and timely action on members’ concerns about such matters as: PFAS, clean water, Harmful Algal Bloom causes, microplastic pollution, etc.  With the current issues at the national level, it could a long time to have needed environmental issues addressed.

Gongwer News also reported The Michigan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) questions what problem SB14 is intending to solve and whether it would achieve what supporters are hoping for with its passage. An official of the MCC stated, “We don’t feel like … more strict regulations to go far beyond the federal guidelines is good for the business climate in the state.” So, it appears MCC believes SB14 could have an effect on economic development.

Several environmental groups are in favor of undoing the 2018 law. The Michigan Environmental Council is one such group and believes the current law is unnecessary.

NOTE: Senator McCann is the Keynote Speaker on Friday morning, May 5, 2023 at the 62nd Annual MLSA Conference. Join us for discussion with the senator about this and other topics important to riparian interests.

Letters to Legislators
March 2023 Newsletter is now available