LANSING —State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) voted in favor of House Bill 5638 today, which concerns water withdrawal applications, after the bill was amended to give the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) more time to review applications.
“Oftentimes when bills are first introduced, they require public input, thorough review and precise revisions before they are acceptable to important stakeholders and the public,” said Cambensy. “Thankfully, HB 5638 went through several rounds of revision, incorporating changes from some of our state and nation’s strongest environmental protection groups, and in the end we had a bill with wide bipartisan support.”
House Bill 5638 allows certain applicants for water withdrawal permits the opportunity to submit additional information after being initially rejected by the state’s Water Withdrawal Tool. Once the additional information is submitted, the DEQ has 20 working days to either approve the application or reject it and notify the applicant. If the DEQ does not respond within 20 days, then the application is approved by default. Initial drafts of the bill would have limited the response time to 10 days, which many stakeholders and Democratic representatives felt was too narrow a window.
“We need clean water to drink, farmers need water for their crops, and we need to protect our water for communities that rely on tourism and watersports such as fishing and boating,” said Cambensy. “The changes to House Bill 5638 made it a better bill that I could support, and I look forward to continued collaboration to ensure the safety of this vital natural resource.”