Environment nearly absent in State of the State

Jan 19, 2012

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In his second State of the State address, Governor Rick Snyder did not spend a lot of time talking about the environment. But he did say that agriculture, tourism, mining and the timber industry are key to the state’s future.

He also talked about his push to overhaul the state’s regulatory system.

“So far we’ve rescinded nearly 400 obsolete, confusing and burdensome regulations.”

Now... those 400 regulations are not all environmental. But Governor Snyder did call out one set of rules that was on the books.

“The Department of Environmental Quality has 28 separate requirements for outhouses, including a requirement that the seat not be left up.”

The governor got big laughs - it was the best punch line of the evening. But of course, there’s a serious undertone to the Governor’s plans for overhauling the way the state regulates businesses.

Jason Geer is with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. He says the Chamber would like to see some limits on the ability of state agencies to make new rules.

“You know, put some limits on how those rules come out. Just to make sure the business community has a little bit of a bigger seat at the table on how those rules come out at the end of the day.”

Geer says he’d like to see state agencies speed up the process of issuing environmental permits.

James Clift is the policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. He’s been part of a committee advising the Governor on changes to state regulations.

“Some regulation is needed to protect public health and the environment – make sure we’re moving forward, but making sure that it’s done in an area that’s smart and gets solutions to some of the problems we see out there.”

Clift says his committee has submitted a report to the Governor... so we’ll be hearing about those regulatory changes any day now.