News from Blue Green Alliance and We Are the People
GRAND RAPIDS – Today representatives from labor and environmental organizations spoke out against legislation (HB4326/SB272) that would prohibit a state agency from adopting a rule more stringent than federal standards, unless specifically authorized by state statute. The legislation would wipe out important environmental, consumer and worker protections, and strip the governor’s authority to protect the Great Lakes.
“Racing to the bottom on environmental protection and worker safety isn’t a jobs plan for Michigan,” said Mark Schauer, National Co-Chair of the BlueGreen Alliance Jobs 21! Campaign. “In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Instead we need to build on Michigan’s unique assets – its people and its natural resources – to create the good jobs of the 21st century here.”
The bill – ostensibly designed to reduce regulations – actually reduces protections for the Great Lakes and undermines the power of Michigan’s governor to act decisively to protect them. During the 1970s, Republican Gov. William Milliken issued an administrative rule limiting phosphorus in the Great Lakes to protect Lake Erie. Under the new legislation, such authority would now rest in the hands of bickering state politicians and Washington bureaucrats.
“This legislation sends a clear message that state politicians don’t think the Great Lakes are worth protecting,” said Mike Berkowitz, Chapter Organizer for the Michigan Sierra Club. “Washington bureaucrats are not better equipped to protect the Great Lakes than the people who live right here in Michigan. This ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t protect ‘Pure Michigan,’ and it won’t create a single job.”
Currently, the Legislature already has the authority to strike down any rule made by a Michigan governor’s administration. However, the new bills would take away the governor’s authority to issue rules in the first place to protect Michigan workers and our natural resources.
“State politicians need to get their priorities straight,” said Sue Levy, UAW Region 1D CAP Coördinator. “Instead of stripping important workplace and environmental protections, our elected leaders should focus on rebuilding our economy and creating jobs for working and middle-class families.”
Last month, a nonpartisan analysis from the House Fiscal Agency found that the legislation would actually, “increase the costs of processing administrative rules by the several departments and agencies.”