This week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer an executive order to make a few key changes in her administration, most notably restructuring the MDEQ to focus on keeping our water clean and doing away with an environmental panel designed to let businesses regulate themselves.
To most people, these moves seem like common sense—after all, we all want drinking water that isn’t poisoned and letting corporate polluters determine regulations that govern corporate polluters is a clear conflict of interest.
But almost immediately after Governor Whitmer issued the order, Republicans in the state legislature began to debate resolutions rejecting them. Their opposition begs an important question: why would anyone in their right mind oppose safeguards to protect our water that help keep us all safe? Do Republicans just…enjoy pollution?
The answer, as is often the case in GOP lawmaking, is simple: Follow the money. In this case, the money in play comes from groups like the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which represents the very corporations subject to rules on pollution and also donates heavily to Republican campaigns—and this week, the Chamber urged legislators to “seriously consider” rejecting the executive orders.
In this situation, Republican legislators are being given a choice between protecting people and protecting polluter profits—and, as expected, they’re siding with corporate interests. The factors at play here are the same factors that keep Republican lawmakers from acting to combat PFAS contamination; the same reasons Republican attorneys general join lawsuits challenging environmental protections and the Trump administration EPA continues to roll back rules that keep us safe.
Time and time again, Republicans have proven they care more about money than they do about their constituents—and it’s on us to hold them accountable. The House has already voted to reject the executive orders, but the resolution is still being debated in the Senate. Contact your state senator today and ask them to stand up for the environment and leave Whitmer’s executive orders alone.