LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Environmental justice advocates “sounded the alarm on dark-money agenda” at a press conference on Tuesday on Zoom.
At the same time, Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) held a hearing on aggregate mining bills in the State House Regulatory Reform Committee, a bipartisan package of bills that environmentalists oppose.
The legislation, including House Bills 4526, 4527 and 4528, proposes the transfer of gravel, sand and other mining permits and operations from local governments to state regulators.
The proposed package “sends an alarming signal about how state House leadership plans to stall on dark money reforms, clean energy, public health, and Great Lakes protections,” said Christy McGillivray of the Sierra Club.
Industry and labor groups say that putting the permitting process in the state’s hands would streamline the process, helping the supply chain with high-demand resources like gravel.
But environmental advocates say that taking the permitting out of local governments’ hands would threaten Michigan’s waterways, wetlands and other natural resources, and that the bills show a lack of follow-through on lawmakers’ promises to prioritize the Great Lakes and the environment.
“From Detroit to Marquette, every community deserves the public health protections and polluter accountability that state legislators have promised for years,” said Jamesa Johnson-Greer, executive director of Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, in a press statement.
“Now that leadership has changed in Lansing, we expect our elected officials to deliver on their commitments–not cave to multi-client lobbyists and dark money,” Johnson-Greer continued.
The Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Clean Water Action, the Michigan Environmental Council, the Ecology Center, Sierra Club, Common Cause, Detroit Disability Power, and others took part in the press conference.