MDEQ: Show Us The Money

7 Jan 2011

Lake Huron shoreline

A recent Free Press editorial urged Governor Snyder to make protecting Michigan’s environment one of his priorities.  Of course we agree – the Great Lakes hold 20% of the World’s fresh water.  This water is a key to industry, recreation, tourism and quality of life here.  Absolutely it should be protected. 

Hopefully, the new administration of the newly reconstituted MDEQ will focus on reordering the agency’s priorities (as Governor Snyder has indicated) so that the public and business interests stop acting as mortal enemies on issues that do little to protect the environment.  It is interesting that the Free Press asks the Governor to “find the money” to protect our natural resources.  For the last 10+ years, the Legislature has slowly allocated less and less to the MDEQ as it robbed peter to pay paul.  This received no coverage.  Rather than focusing on its core mission and ensuring every dollar was efficiently spent, the MDEQ clamors for industrial fees to replace lost general fund money.  While in some cases these fees have made sense (such as those paying for additional staff to speed permit processing), it makes no sense to fund an entire agency on the backs of those regulated by it.  Can you see paying for roads when you get your driver’s license?  Also, having industry pay the cost of the agency that regulates it is fraught with potential conflicts of interest.  

If all of Michigan’s 10 Million residents want a clean environment (and I think we do), then we should all be willing to pay for it.

Leave a Comment to “MDEQ: Show Us The Money”

  1. Bryan Anderson 08. Jan, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    It’s interesting how a failing economy always takes priority over a failing environment. One can only hope that once the economy picks up and people lose their fear of spending that the focus will return to the environment. I agree, if people desire a cleaner and more sustainable environment they should be willing to pay for it. I feel that the poor economy has prevented people from taking that first step.

  2. Arthur Siegal 10. Jan, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Bryan – unfortunately when times are tight people will focus on the short term (I need a job) over the long term (I need a healthy environment). Here, Michigan’s long term economy is tied to the health of its environment and we need to be sure both that it is protected and that those doing the protecting are as efficient in doing their work as possible.

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