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HomeSpotlight Story | Bird’s Eye View | Budget & Taxes | Politics & Leadership | Governors | Hot Issues | Once Around the Statehouse Lightly
Saying “we need to be laser-focused on cleaning up water in our state,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a reorganization of the Wolverine State’s Department of Environmental Quality, which drew intense criticism over its handling of the water crisis in Flint.
Under Executive Order 2019-03, the department would be known as the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Her order would also create the offices of Climate and Energy, Clean Water Public Advocate and Environmental Justice Public Advocate, all within the department.
The GOP-controlled House quickly voted along partisan lines to overturn the order. Republicans took specific exception to another element of the order they called a “de facto veto” of oversight panels they approved, including the Environmental Rules Review Committee, Environmental Permit Review Commission and Environmental Science Advisory Board. The Senate would need to endorse a similar resolution to overturn the order. As of this writing Senators had not taken up such a resolution.
Whitmer decried the GOP response.
“I think we need to be very clear: the House Republicans today, on a party line vote, voted down protections for drinking water. They voted down the creation of a public advocate for clean drinking water,” she said at a press conference. “Today's actions endangers our public and threatens to burn bridges, and that's unfortunate, because there are a lot of people in this state that our counting on us to clean up drinking water.” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, NEW YORK TIMES, MLIVE.COM)