Legislature gives final OK for private industry panel in DEQ

Legislature gives final OK for private industry panel in DEQ. (File - Sinclair Broadcast Group/Stephen Wozny)

A bill to create a private industry panel within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has narrowly passed the Michigan Legislature.

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Senate gave the legislation a final OK in a 25-11 party-line vote. It now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Part of a three-bill package, the measure would create an environmental rules review committee comprised of private industry representatives who would be able to weigh in during the DEQ's rulemaking process. More than half of the voting stakeholders would hail from industries such as oil and gas, agriculture and manufacturing.

Republicans and pro-business groups support the legislation, contending the agency has iced them out of decision-making in the past. Democrats and environmental groups widely criticized the bill, evoking familiar fears from Flint's ongoing lead-tainted water crisis.

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