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AG Nessel to review new controversial environmental laws

The State Capitol
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Governor Snyder's tax plan has passed the State House.

Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked her staff to take a close look at environmental legislation passed during the recent lame duck session, according to her spokeswoman, Kelly Rossman-McKinney.

The focus of the review is on two bills (HB 4205 and SB 1244) signed into law in December by then-Governor Rick Snyder over the opposition of public health and environmental advocates.

Opponents said one law could keep state regulators from using the latest science to set clean up standards for toxic waste, and the other law would prevent state agencies from creating regulations that are stricter than federal ones. They said the combined effect would be to weaken pollution cleanup standards.

"The point of the review is to determine what does this allow us or prohibit us from doing in terms of going after a responsible party," said Rossman-McKinney, citing the problem of toxic contaminants that have emerged in various locations around the state.

Tiffany Brown, Governor Gretchen Whitmer's press secretary, said in an email that Whitmer "appreciates the review by the Attorney General."

"Governor Whitmer would not have signed HB 4205 or SB 1244, had they been presented to her," wrote Brown. "They are bad policy because they limit the ability of state government to protect public health and safety."

The Michigan Department of Enviromental Quality is also examining the legislation.

"DEQ's commitment to protecting the public and Michigan's environment remains unchanged," said MDEQ spokesman Scott Dean in an email. "We are reviewing the final bills that emerged from the lame duck session."

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