Senate Sends Budget to Governor: Department of Environmental Quality Cut
The Senate this morning voted in favor of a $56.7 billion state budget that now heads to Governor Rick Snyder for approval. He is expected to sign the bill. The final version cuts $9.5 million in state funding from the Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) current $516 million budget, a decrease of roughly 2 percent.
A 2 percent cut may seem insignificant, but given the current makeup of Congress and the Trump Administration’s proposed EPA cuts, that number is likely to be much higher. Budgetary analysis presumes an additional $31 million from the federal government for the upcoming year, but if those funds aren’t included in congressional spending bills the MDEQ budget may face a more severe cut that could travel upwards of $40 million. Currently, the department relies on the EPA for about a third of its budget, meaning its operations are especially sensitive to national policy changes.
MDEQ spokesperson Melody Kindraka stated in May that budget reductions may cost jobs and “could result in longer wait times to review permits and reduced work on sites contaminated by hazardous materials.” Reduced funding threatens the scope and effectiveness of toxic cleanups, investigations into poison vapor intrusion, and air and water quality operations all over the state.