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 and rule-making process. In response, state Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) issued the following statement:

“The rule-making process for the Department of Environmental Quality is already too weak. Creating a panel to give even more influence to corporate interests will only further delay and obstruct the DEQ’s work to protect Michiganders. Despite mine and my colleagues’ efforts to work with the department to update cleanup criteria for hundreds of contaminants to reflect new science, polluting industries have blocked action so that the criteria remain outdated five years after the deadline. People across our state are being exposed to toxins in their air and water, and without new standards the DEQ has not been able to hold corporations accountable for cleaning up contamination to safe levels. These bills would rig the rules in favor of corporations and block the DEQ from doing what the people of Michigan created it to do — protect all of us from pollution.”