Whitmer must stand firm over environment panel

Michigan is a state with a large outdoor recreation industry. It also has many abundant natural resources.

From a business point of view, it would be smart of the legislators of our state to put time, effort and money into keeping this industry well running and by preserving Michigan’s environment. However, this is not the case.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, according to the Detroit Free Press, put forth an environmental executive order that would completely change the current way the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality would work.

For one, it would be changed to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. This restructuring of the department would come with new jobs created to carry out various responsibilities.

The executive order also attempted to abolish the industry-run panels that were put in place by former governor Rick Snyder.

These panels have the power to overrule decisions of the department director, appointed by the current governor.

To put it in simpler terms, there is a panel full of people from various companies that have the power to strike down environmental legislation that could potentially harm their industry.

The executive order did not pass in the house, and at the time of press will be moving forward to the senate.

Whitmer seemed to be angry that House Republicans voted against the decision, and I can see why.

The Flint Water crisis was a huge, damaging debacle that is still hurting citizens to this day, and most likely will have vast health implications years down the road.

It is an undeniable shame that the state with the most abundant water supply has the biggest water safety flub to date.

How about River Rouge air quality?

Some may be unaware, but River Rouge (before the California wild fires) had the worst air quality in the United States, with high rates of asthma and various other maladies accompanying that label.

People who run the oil companies, like Marathon, are the type of people represented in the panel who get to have a say in our environmental decisions.

It’s another hurdle that legislation must jump over, and it’s being influenced by people who are restricted by those environmental laws.

The House Republicans’ choice to vote against this executive order should speak volumes to the people who think that they have Michigan’s best interest in mind.

We are one of the most beautiful states and have an abundance of natural resources that must be secured for future generations.

Truly, what is the function of the panel?

It is to represent the interests of business, which are being protected by politicians who may be benefiting from this.

Clean air and water should be a priority.

How will Michigan focus on other issues while basic human needs are not met?

Whitmer should keep pursuing this executive order.

She has said she won’t let up until she gets her way.

She shouldn’t.

Jones is editor-in-chief of The VN.