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Senate mulls undoing Whitmer’s DEQ restructuring plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plans to restructure the state Department of Environmental Quality could be over.

The state House passed a measure to eliminate the order Wednesday, and now the Senate is considering a similar move – which would mean the end of Whitmer’s order.

Earlier this week, Whitmer signed an order to restructure the Department of Environmental Quality. Some Republicans in the Legislature don’t like that the restructuring gets rid of several environmental oversight panels that were created by statute last year. 

A senate committee held a hearing on a measure to do away with Whitmer’s order Thursday. And several state Senators say this is all just part of their job to oversee the governor’s office in certain circumstances.

“These kinds of things are important, they’re big, they’re broad, and if we don’t spend enough time on them there could be things…unintended consequences. Either direction,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake).

Democrats in the Legislature are fighting the move. Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said he’s fine with the Senate committee reviewing the executive order. But he says it would be a bad idea to get rid of it.

“I think there’s ways to get together and say okay is there a way to get the result we wanted?” he said. 

The Senate committee will meet again for more testimony on Wednesday.