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A Republican effort to thwart environmental changes at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) into the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy by overturning an executive order issued in February by Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to play out by the end of March. But, despite having enough votes to overturn the order, which would reorganize the state’s environmental department and add extra focus on water quality and energy, Whitmer may have an ace up her sleeve with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Whitmer has asked the AG for her opinion on a set of oversight boards that essentially usurp the power of the DEQ and allow industry to influence rules and permits – the real reason Republican legislators are in a tizzy over the departmental changes. If found to be illegal, the boards may have to be dissolved, as required by Whitmer’s order, or Michigan may have to give up its authority to enforce federal environmental laws. The AG opinion could take several months to complete. “Never thought the day would come where I would wish that fewer people were interested in my opinion,” Nessel said in a Tweet.


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