Senate approves Green bill to reform DEQ regulations, expedite cleanup efforts

LANSING, Mich.—Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Mike Green to reform the regulatory process within the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was approved by the Michigan Senate on Tuesday, the lawmaker said.

Senate Bill 533 removes certain rule-making authorities from the DEQ and prohibits the department from creating new regulations not specified under existing law, as both apply to leaking underground storage tanks.

“Jobs remain job one. This DEQ reform promotes both economic development and environmental protection,” said Green, R-Mayville. “By getting rid of unnecessary rules and regulations within the DEQ, we can more quickly and effectively clean up these contaminated sites so they can be redeveloped to create jobs.”

Green said that Michigan has a strong statute governing the cleanups but that constant rule changes by the department over the past decade have delayed rehabilitation efforts, causing further damage to the polluted sites and obstructing new development projects.

SB 533 was passed as part of a broad legislative package, SBs 529-533, to revise procedures for cleanup of leaking underground storage tanks. The bills also introduce common-sense approaches to the cleanup regulatory process by requiring the use of measures that are site-specific and risk-based.

The legislation is now before the House of Representatives for its consideration.