House Republicans this week fought to protect Michigan's Great Lakes through the implementation of an environmental impact assessment tool that monitors water usage across the state, but House Democrats instead forced their own plan to harm Michigan businesses by over-regulation and higher costs.
"This plan will hurt business, increase bureaucracy and benefit trial lawyers," said state Rep. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. "Our state has the largest stake in the effort to protect the Midwest's greatest natural resource, both environmentally and economically, which is why the approval of the water compact was so important.
"But we also must consider the needs of our agriculture and manufacturing industries, and this legislative package does not do that."
Casperson and the House Republican caucus fought to stop the Democrat plan that goes well beyond what is required by the Great Lakes Water Compact by imposing unnecessary regulation on Michigan businesses and farmers.
The intent of the water package to is to regulate large-quantity water withdrawals in Michigan. The Republicans offered amendments to align the House version more along the lines of the Senate version, which meets the Compact guidelines.
The legislation approved by the House gives more power to the Department of Environmental Quality and harms Michigan business by severely limiting their access to resources.
"Policy decisions on water usage should be based on scientific facts considered by legislators, not bureaucrats in the DEQ," Casperson said. "This legislation will continue the harm being done to commerce in Michigan by excessive regulations and interference. The shape this policy takes is going to impact Michigan's future, in terms of the natural resources and the ability to create jobs."