Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a new executive order to continue moving forward on her commitment to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), which will fight for clean drinking water, protect the Great Lakes, mitigate PFAS, and address climate change.
The new executive order was issued to replace Executive Order 2019-2, which was voted down on a party-line vote by the Michigan Legislature.
“Every Michigander deserves safe, clean drinking water, and I’m not going to let partisan politics slow down the important work that needs to get done right now to protect public health,” said Whitmer. “That’s why I’m taking action to sign this new executive order so we can start cleaning up our drinking water, protect the Great Lakes, and take action to address climate change.”
Executive Order 2019-6 restructures the Department of Environmental Quality as the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, which will be focused on improving the quality of Michigan’s air, land, and water, protecting public health, and encouraging the use of clean energy.
The new department will serve as a full-time guardian of the Great Lakes, our freshwater, and our public water supplies. EO 2019-6 requires submission to the legislature and takes effect after 60 days.
Per the order, the Environmental Science Advisory Board will be eliminated. The Environmental Rules Review Committee and the Environmental Permit Review Commission will remain intact while the governor awaits a response from the Attorney General on the legality of these commissions.
Executive Order 2019-2 received strong bipartisan support from Michigan businesses, environmental groups, and advocates such as Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Governor Snyder’s former director of the Department of Environmental Quality, Heidi Grether.