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E-M:/ more on DEQ budget

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>

All subscribers to this list ought to check newspapers over the weekend for
what I hope will be coverage of the State House committee-proposed
evisceration of the fiscal 2004 DEQ budget.  The cuts proposed will expose
the environment to great harm and won't help the regulated community -- at
least the 98% of it that follows the law and seeks permits, which will be
incredibly backlogged. It appears more than the merits of the DEQ budget are
behind some of the proposed cuts.

One Lansing newsletter summarized the events of Thursday as follows:


A burgeoning feud between the Department of Environmental Quality and the
leading House lawmaker on the DEQ budget exploded Thursday as a House
committee approved the department's budget with cuts nearly five times
deeper than the Granholm administration recommended.

Rep. John Pastor (R-Livonia), chair of the Appropriations Subcommitteeon the
DEQ, called the cut a "very insignificant amount of money" and comparable to
the cuts being made in other budgets.   He said the cuts are preferable to
raising and creating fees such as the one Ms. Granholm has proposed to pay
for the water pollution discharge program. "The governor's told us time and
time again to buckle up, live within our means and do more with less," he
said. But the budget was blasted by DEQ Director Steve Chester, who left the
committee as it was voting, saying it would lead to "severe cuts" affecting
every environmental protection program.

Asked if he personally disliked the DEQ, Mr. Pastor said,   "What I don't
like is their attitude.   I don't like that they hold people hostage....
I've been telling (the DEQ), if I have these same issues, if I have a
problem with a guy locally, and I feel as though the gentleman down there is
kind of messing me around, what about the poor gentleman that doesn't know
how to deal with the DEQ, that they just steal their property rights away
from him?"

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