LANSING — Yesterday, the Michigan Competitiveness Committee voted out Senate Bills 652-4, which would create a governor-appointed Environmental Rules Review Committee and the Permit Appeal Panel, with the ability to oversee, overrule and rewrite any proposed environmental regulations and to veto any environmental permit denial. In response, state Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), Democratic vice chair, issued the following statement:

“This is another example of the majority party putting corporate profits ahead of the best interests of the people. My colleagues from across the aisle will not be able to say that we did not give them the chance to do the right thing and put Michigan first. We proposed over 30 separate amendments and gave them those opportunities to reconsider and choose the people of this state, not corporations. They refused at every turn. It is deeply concerning to me that at a time like this, when our state is suffering from environmental crises caused largely by prioritizing wealthy corporations ahead of everyday Michiganders, the solution presented in committee yesterday was to turn over more control to people who are not the least interested in protecting our citizens, communities and natural resources.  

“Two of the many amendments that were rejected would have required that the governor-appointed members of these bodies be residents of Michigan and to require panel members to not be from a company with a poor environmental track record. It seems the very least that we could ask for is the people who will be given the authority to manage the fate of our state’s unique natural resources be Michiganders themselves. My colleagues across the aisle didn’t agree. I continue to be frustrated that the majority of members of the committee think corporate profits are more important than the citizens we were elected by and the natural resources we have been lucky enough to be given to enjoy, use and protect.”