LANSING — Today, the House of Representatives voted out Senate Bills 652-654, which create new panels and gives them new powers to oversee the DEQ and its permitting process. In response, state Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), issued the following statement:

“If we want to restore faith in the bodies that govern our resources, we must put an end to the ease with which corporations can access and manipulate them. Someone with a vested interest in the outcome should not be allowed to shape the rules that may later apply to them. My amendment would have prevented this, by barring people who are employed by companies that have been found to violate state or federal environmental regulations. This is common sense. Corporations that have shown themselves to be rule breakers should not be allowed to help shape new rules.

“The people of Michigan are having a hard enough time trusting their government right now. The same week the Snyder administration told the people of Flint they were ending bottled water distribution — thus limiting access to clean water for thousands of families — the MDEQ approved a permit for mere pennies for a foreign corporation to double the amount of our freshwater they were pumping for profit. All this without corporate lobbyists being able to make the rules themselves. The people are already stripped of their voice — this only make things worse.”