LANSING, Mich., April 20, 2021 — The state department responsible for protecting Michigan’s environment and holding polluters accountable would be forced to do so next year without knowing if it will have the resources it needs under a new partisan budget gimmick being deployed by House Republicans to only fund state departments one quarter of the year at a time. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) today moved a FY 2021-22 appropriations bill that only funds the department for the first quarter. House Bill 4397 (H-1) was reported out 4-3 with Democrats voting no.
State Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit), the subcommittee’s Democratic Vice Chair, said the unbelievably irresponsible budget process holds Michigan taxpayers hostage, puts the quality of Michigan’s air, water and land at risk and endangers lives.
“There’s a reason we’re known as Pure Michigan,” Thanedar said. “Our state is one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world. Michiganders are counting on us to be good stewards of our natural resources, and it starts with fully funding the department whose mission it is to protect our environment and public health. What does it say about Republican priorities when they keep taxpayers and communities in the dark by only funding EGLE for a quarter of a year? Which one of the four Great Lakes will Republicans choose to protect? Holding back vital public resources to use as political leverage later down the road at the expense of long-term planning and robust environmental protection efforts is unconscionable.”
HB 4397 (H-1) appropriates $115.6 million to EGLE for the first quarter of FY 2021-22. The department’s current year budget is $511.3 million. In her Executive Budget Recommendation announced earlier this year, Gov. Whitmer proposed over $906 million to fund priorities like high water infrastructure grants to address flooding concerns, contaminated site cleanup, water infrastructure facility projects, restoring failing septic systems, public health mitigation projects, and bolstering the permitting and enforcement processes through adequate staffing. The proposed Republican budget does not fund these priorities.
Thanedar offered several amendments to include funding from the governor’s budget recommendation. The amendments were defeated on party-line votes.
House Bill 4397 (H-1) now moves to the House Committee on Appropriations for consideration.
# # #