Gov. Whitmer creates offices of Climate and Energy, Clean Water Public Advocate, Environmental Justice Public Advocate

Governor Gretchen Whitmer yesterday signed two executive orders and one executive directive to protect the Great Lakes, clean up our drinking water, and combat the impacts of climate change.

Executive Order 2019-2 restructures the Department of Environmental Quality as the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The executive order also creates new offices within the department, including the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate, the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate, and the Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team.

Executive Order 2019-3 strengthens the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) as an effort to inform the public about perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), locate contamination, and take action to protect sources of drinking water from these dangerous chemicals.

Executive Directive 2019-12 enters Michigan into the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors from 19 other states that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“This is about finding real solutions to clean up our drinking water so every Michigander can bathe their kids and give them a glass of water at the dinner table safely,” said Whitmer. “We have a chance to build a system that really works so we can protect our water and improve public health. We’ve also got to take action to protect our state from the effects of climate change. The science is in, and it’s time we get to work to mitigate the impact of climate change for the sake of our kids and future generations in Michigan.”

“This executive order will make sure that our state government is more responsive to problems with our drinking water and our environment,” said Liesl Clark, who will serve as Director of EGLE. “By creating offices like the Clean Water Public Advocate, we can get to work solving the problems that dozens of communities are facing with their drinking water. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work with Governor Whitmer to protect Pure Michigan and strengthen our economy.”

Executive Order 2019-2 also creates a new office of climate and energy that will work with the governor to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and embrace more sustainable energy solutions.

The executive order will make state government more efficient, responsive and effective by transferring duties related to process improvement and good government to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

“DTMB is committed to developing and supporting meaningful process improvement and risk management tools across the state to make government more efficient and accountable,” said DTMB Director Tricia Foster. “I look forward to working with all departments to enact Governor Whitmer’s vision of a more responsive and effective state government here in Michigan.”

Additionally, the executive order will streamline the regulatory process in state government by creating the Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules and by eliminating unnecessary commissions.

To view the full executive orders/directives, click the links below:

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