Update: Governor Granholm recombines the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality

Recombining the DEQ with the DNR provides an opportunity to create a cutting-edge governmental organization that efficiently interconnects environmental regulation with conservation management. If executed properly, the creation of the new Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) could demonstrate the effectiveness of a holistic approach to natural resource management. However, if the DNRE falls prey to the funding constraints that have plagued the DEQ and the DNR, the recombination will represent a simple name change with no substantial improvement in governmental efficiency or environmental protection. 

Since 2002, the DEQ’s share of the state’s general fund, which is the portion of the budget that the legislature has the power to allocate as they see fit, has declined by 56%, and that is prior to this year’s budget cuts. Overall, the entire budgets of both the DNR and the DEQ account for less than 1% of Michigan’s general fund. This seems ridiculous, especially considering that the third-largest sector of our economy in Michigan is tourism and recreation. It seems as though the decision-makers in our state are supportive of spending millions of dollars on the “Pure Michigan” ad campaign, but they aren’t willing to invest any money in protecting, maintaining, and preserving the natural resources that those ads promote. 
 
In these difficult economic times, Michigan cannot afford to under-invest in one of the few bright spots in our economy. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening. The environmental community is working hard to ensure that the state creates a cutting-edge department that successfully and efficiently melds environmental protection and conservation. 
 
Please read the formal statement on behalf of the community > env-cmty-stmt-recomvo.pdf