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Michigan Senate Mulls Undoing Whitmer’s DEQ Restricting Plan

Michigan State Senate
Wikipedia Media Commons

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plans to restructure the state Department of Environmental Quality could be over.

The state House passed a measure to eliminate the order Wednesday, and now the Senate is considering a similar move – which would mean the end of Whitmer’s order.

Earlier this week, Whitmer signed an order to restructure the Department of Environmental Quality.  Some Republicans in the Legislaturedon’t like that the restructuring gets rid of several environmental oversight panels that were created by statute last year.

A Senate committee held a hearing on a measure to do away with Whitmer’s order Thursday.  And several state Senators say this is all just part of their job to oversee the governor’s office in certain circumstances.

“These kinds of things are important, they’re big, they’re broad, and if we don’t spend enough time on them there could be things…unintended consequences.  Either direction,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). 

Democrats in the Legislature are fighting the move.  Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said he’s fine with the Senate committee reviewing the executive order.  But he says it would be a bad idea to get rid of it.

“I think there’s ways to get together and say okay is there a way to get the result we wanted?” he said.

The Senate committee will meet again for more testimony on Wednesday.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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