LANSING — Today, the House of Representatives voted out Senate Bills 652-4, which create new panels and gives them new powers to oversee the DEQ and its permitting and rule-making process. State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) proposed three amendments which would address major concerns, which were voted down. In response, Rep. Hammoud issued the following statement:


            “It is ironic that many of the same legislators who claim they want to ‘drain the swamp’ are supporting legislation that would increase bureaucracy and also damage the environment. If I were to ask any Michigan resident if they think it is acceptable for lobbyists to have the power to override permitting decisions in any situation, I am certain that I would hear a resounding ‘no’.


“My amendments would have prevented current or former lobbyists, or individuals with any conflicts of interest, from serving on this newly created DEQ oversight commission and appellate committee. Additionally, they would have prevented members of these panels from working for the industries that came before the panel for the following three years.


“This legislation is a classic case of the fox guarding the hen house, and my amendments would have addressed serious and legitimate concerns. It is truly mind-boggling that they were not adopted. The deck is continually stacked against people that live in areas prone to higher pollution, and these bills are yet another burden to public health and the environment. With these proposals, big corporations would once again come out on top at the expense of our residents.”