Thursday, February 21, 2019

Gov. Whitmer signs new Executive Order aimed at cleaning up Michigan’s drinking water

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo courtesy Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer)

LANSING -- On Wednesday, Feb. 20, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a new executive order to continue moving forward on her commitment to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), which will fight for clean drinking water, protect the Great Lakes, mitigate PFAS, and address climate change. The new executive order was issued to replace Executive Order 2019-2, which was voted down on a party-line vote by the Michigan Legislature.*

"Every Michigander deserves safe, clean drinking water, and I’m not going to let partisan politics slow down the important work that needs to get done right now to protect public health," said Whitmer. "That’s why I’m taking action to sign this new executive order so we can start cleaning up our drinking water, protect the Great Lakes, and take action to address climate change."

This new Executive Order, 2019-6, restructures the Department of Environmental Quality as the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, which will be focused on improving the quality of Michigan’s air, land, and water, protecting public health, and encouraging the use of clean energy. The new department will oversee Offices of Climate and Energy, Clean Water Public Advocate, and Environmental Justice Public Advocate and will serve as a full-time guardian of the Great Lakes, our freshwater, and our public water supplies. EO 2019-6 requires submission to the legislature and takes effect after 60 days.

Per the order, the Environmental Science Advisory Board will be eliminated. The Environmental Rules Review Committee and the Environmental Permit Review Commission will remain intact while the governor awaits a response from the Attorney General on the legality of these commissions. 

Executive Order 2019-2 received strong bipartisan support from Michigan businesses, environmental groups, and advocates such as Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Governor Snyder’s former director of the Department of Environmental Quality, Heidi Grether.  

To view the full executive order, EO 2019-6, click here.

*Editor's Note: See our Feb. 6, 2019, article, "Michigan Gov. Whitmer signs executive orders, directive to protect water, combat climate change; legislators oppose her efforts."

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Michigan Attorney General joins states opposing Trump’s National Emergency Declaration

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. (Photo courtesy Michigan.gov)

LANSING -- (Feb. 18, 2019) Calling President Donald J. Trump’s declaration of a national emergency "a manufactured crisis," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 15 other states to seek an injunction against the president’s actions.

The states joined forces in opposition to the president to "protect revenue, natural resources and economic interests" from Trump’s "flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers." The president’s declaration will redirect federal funding already appropriated for the states and divert it toward building a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico.

"This fake emergency is a publicity stunt that will raid our federal funding and cost us millions," said Nessel. "We cannot in good conscience stand by while our president seeks to undermine our own efforts to keep our residents safe and our military strong."

The Michigan National Guard has more than 10,000 soldiers and airmen, employs a substantial number of employees on a full-time basis, and operates more than 40 facilities in the state. The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs receives a majority of its funding from the federal government. It performs missions training and prepares citizen soldiers and airmen to respond to, among other things, state emergency response, military support, and protection of local communities. Loss of funding negatively impacts this vital service for the State of Michigan.

Joining Attorney General Nessel in the lawsuit led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.

Editor's Note: Moveon.org reports thousands protested against Trump's national emergency declaration on President's Day, Feb. 18, in events across 48 states. Click here for photos.