LANSING — Yesterday, 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. State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) offered an amendment that would have tie-barred Senate Bill 652 to four bills that restore citizen oversight commissions at the DEQ for air quality, water quality, and oil and gas. In response to the passage of the bill, Rep. Chang issued the following statement:

            “Corporations who pollute our air and water should be held accountable, not appointed to a board with oversight over the rule-making process or permitting affecting our state’s unique natural resources. I represent the Southwest Detroit community with the highest rate of air pollution in the state. I have been to too many DEQ hearings in my district to count regarding air quality permits and consent orders. My residents have expressed consistently at these meetings that they felt their voices about asthma, COPD and various forms of cancer weren’t being heard. When Michiganders go to public hearing after public hearing feeling like a decision that may impact their ability to breathe, or the availability and quality of the water a family can drink, or where a new drilling project may be located has already been made without their input — we have a problem. We need to restore faith in our government agencies, yet these bills will only erode whatever trust is still left.”