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E-M:/ Lawmakers undermine Michigan's environmental programs with budget cuts

Title: Message

The full report can be found at www.pirgim.org


For Immediate Release:                                                              For More Information:

June 18, 2004                                                                            Brian Imus, PIRGIM, 734-662-6597


Lawmakers Undermine Michigan’s Environmental Programs with Budget Cuts


Lansing – Proposed budget cuts debated over the last several weeks by the Michigan Legislature will dramatically undermine clean air and water protections, according to an analysis of budget data conducted by PIRGIM (Public Interest Research Group in Michigan).


The budget cuts come after several years of severe cuts in funding for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). After inflation, MDEQ has lost $75 million in funding since 1996, a decline of 18%. This funding shortfall has reduced the effectiveness of key public health, safety, and environmental programs.  The proposed budget cuts, including a 15% reduction in general fund dollars and a mandatory 8% staff reduction, would make the situation worse. For example:


“Michiganders will pay for these budget cuts with reduced quality of life,” said PIRGIM’s Program Director, Brian Imus. “These attacks by Lansing lawmakers on public health and environmental programs could mean more beach closings, more fishing advisories and more days when it is unsafe to breathe the air.”


In addition to the proposed general fund and staff reduction, the proposed MDEQ budget could require the privatization of the state environmental and drinking water laboratories.  This change could require significant costs associated with decommissioning the state laboratory building and equipment in Lansing and could compromise the performance of the department in responding rapidly to spills and conducting criminal and civil investigations.


For more information and a full copy of PIRGIM’s white paper analysis, “The Effect of Funding Shortfalls on Michigan’s Environment,go to www.pirgim.org


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PIRGIM (Public Interest Research Group in Michigan) is a non-profit public interest advocacy organization, working throughout Michigan to preserve the environment, protect consumers and promote good government.

Brian Imus
PIRGIM State Director
122 S. Main St., Ste. 370
Ann Arbor, MI 48104