September 30, 2009

Lawmakers Applauded For Rejecting DEQ Budget Cuts

Democrats, Lone Republican Showed Courage In Opposing Leader’s Spending Plan

LANSING, MI--Michigan Democratic lawmakers—including those who bucked their party’s leaders and rejected deep funding cuts to water, air and land protection programs—were hailed today as heroes by leading environmental groups. Also singled out for praise was state Sen. Valde Garcia, a Livingston County Republican who was the lone GOP vote against the environmental funding cuts.

“The 40 state representatives and 16 senators who voted against the worst modern-day attack on Michigan environmental programs showed wisdom, courage and reflected the best of Michigan’s values Tuesday,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan Director of Sierra Club. “All of us owe them our gratitude and respect.”

Cyndi Roper, Michigan Director of Clean Water Action, said the majority of House Democrats who rejected the all-cuts budget for the Department of Environmental Quality especially deserve the thanks of Michigan residents who care about the quality of their water, air and land. Those 40 representatives stood in opposition to Speaker Andy Dillon’s proposed budget.

“To quote one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter, ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends,’ “said Roper. “Elected officials like Rep. Sarah Roberts and Rep. Rebekah Warren showed what real leadership is all about—doing what’s best for Michigan even if it’s not popular with their party’s leadership.”

Sierra Club and Clean Water Action have called on the governor to veto the joint DEQ and Department of Natural Resources budget and said that if state government fails to fund critical air and water programs in the days ahead, the federal Environmental Protection Agency should take over all water and air quality enforcement and permitting activities. More than $196 million was cut from the joint state Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources budget.

Fifteen Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Mike Prussi, voted against the environmental budget cuts. In the House, a majority of Democrats opposed the cuts. They were:

Rep. Kathy Angerer, Rep. Douglas Geiss, Rep. Burton Leland, Rep. Roy Schmidt, Rep.Vicki Barnett, Rep. Vincent Gregory, Rep. LaMar Lemmons Jr., Rep. Bettie Cook Scott, Rep. Joan Bauer, Rep. Jennifer Haase, Rep. Ellen Lipton, Rep. Dan Scripps, Rep. Timothy Bledsoe, Rep. Harold Haugh, Rep. Lesia Liss, Rep. Kate Segal, Rep. Lisa Brown, Rep. Mike Huckleberry, Rep. Mark Meadows, Rep. Dian Slavens, Rep. Pam Byrnes, Rep. Shanelle Jackson, Rep. Tim Melton, Rep. Alma Smith, Rep. Barb Byrum, Rep. Bert Johnson, Rep. Fred Miller, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Andy Coulouris, Rep. Robert Jones, Rep. David Nathan, Rep. Mary Valentine, Rep. Marie Donigan, Rep. Andrew Kandrevas, Rep. Andy Neumann, Rep. Rebkah Warren, Rep. Fred Durhal Jr., Rep. Deb Kennedy, Rep. Sarah Roberts, Rep. Coleman Young II