Bill Appointing Industry Representatives to Oversee Environmental Decisions Introduced in Michigan

Silencing Science Tracker

Bill Appointing Industry Representatives to Oversee Environmental Decisions Introduced in Michigan

On November 9, 2017, a package of bills (Senate Bill (SB) 652, SB 653, and SB 654) aimed at increasing oversight of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was introduced in the state Senate. One of the bills – SB 652 – proposes to create a new Environmental Rules Review Committee “to oversee all rulemaking of the” MDEQ. The Committee would consist of 11 voting members, appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the state Senate. At least six of the members must represent industry.

The Environmental Rules Review Committee would have broad authority to review decisions of the MDEQ. All rules proposed by the MDEQ would be subject to review by the committee to ensure that they:

  • do not exceed the rule-making delegation contained in the statute authorizing the rule-making;
  • reasonably implement and apply any statute authorizing the rule-making and are consistent with all other applicable law;
  • are necessary and suitable to achieve their purposes in proportion to the burdens they place on individuals and businesses; and
  • are based on sound and objective scientific reasoning.

If the committee determines that one or more of these requirements is not met, it may veto the proposed rule.

UpdateOn January 25, 2017, the Michigan Senate voted to adopt SB 652, SB 653, and SB 654. The bills were then sent to the Michigan House of Representatives.

On May 22, 2018, the Michigan House of Representatives voted to adopt SB 652. SB 653, and SB 654 with amendments. As amended, the House version of SB 652 would not allow the Environmental Rules Review Committee to veto proposed rules, but merely to object. On receiving an objection from the Committee, the MDEQ would be required to “attempt to resolve any issues” within 11 months. If the issues cannot be resolved within that period, the Director of MDEQ would be required to notify the Governor, who would have the final decision as to whether the draft rules should be adopted.

On June 12, 2018, the Senate voted to adopt the House version of SB 652. The bill was presented to the Governor for signature on July 25, 2017. The Governor signed the bill on September 5, 2018.


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