Can DEQ “reinvent itself”? I’m dubious

3 Feb 2012

Today, the MDEQ “rolled out” its 6 week lightning quick Collaborative Stakeholders Initiative (CSI) to “reinvent”  its remediation and brownfield redevelopment programs.  This is the brainchild of Anne Couture who is the interim head of the MDEQ’s Remediation Division. I blogged about this last year.  It is somewhat related to the Governor’s efforts to reinvent State government state-wide.  That effort was largely embodied in the State’s Office of Regulatory Reform, mentioned at the Governor’s State of the State address. Anne  has convened seven groups of lawyers, consultants and MDEQ staff to work on seven major issues:

Group 1: Groundwater Surface Water Interface;

Group 2: Cleanup Criteria;

Group 3: Vapor Intrusion;

Group 4: Free Product, Source Removal, and Csat;

Group 5: Brownfield Redevelopment;

Group 6: Part 201 Rules and Operational Memoranda; and

Group 7: Due Care Obligations

This is going to be a full-blown effort at “shuttle diplomacy” akin to trying to get Israel and the Palestinians together at Camp David.  Later this month, the MDEQ is going to take all of these people to the west side of the State to work on these issues in semi-seclusion.

The MDEQ has set up a website (here) where the public can track what is going on.  I give Anne credit for trying.  The Staff may be interested in this effort, given that the Legislature seems to have “painted a target” (i.e., threatening cutting off funding and further amendments to Part 201) on the MDEQ. However, the staff seems to have ignored the amendments enacted a bit over a year ago (that I worked on) that had many of the same goals as this CSI program.  Therefore,one really has to wonder if the staff may is coming into this CSI with an open mind.  As I blogged about before, we’ve been down this road before and Michigan (once at the forefront) has lagged in getting closures approved. Even if it succeeds on any of the subjects, the CSI would be a step in the process toward new/revised laws and rules.  I’ll keep  you up to date.


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