|October 22nd, 2009, 01:29 AM||#1|
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upnorth 10-20-2009 12:38 PM
More than 72 years ago, the Michigan Legislature began talking about a bill that would grant the Governor of Michigan the authority to appoint the state's conservation director. Conservationists, sportsmen and women all over the state were very concerned about the possibility of politics playing a major role in the fate of Michigan's natural resources.
A time for action had arrived and because of that one bill, a group of 92 delegates representing 35 conservation clubs across the state held a meeting on November 9, 1937 in Owosso. When that meeting ended, Michigan United Conservation Clubs had been formed.
Once again, Michigan's governor is attempting further inject politics into the management of Michigan's natural resources. Last week, Governor Granholm issued an Executive Order (Executive Order 45 of 2009) that combines the DNR and DEQ, but strips the Natural Resources Commission's (NRC) ability to appoint the Department director, a move that severely erodes the transparency of decision-making within the new Department of Natural Resources & Environment (DNRE). Currently the NRC appoints the director of the Department in an open process. This Executive Order (EO) would remove that authority, allowing the Governor to appoint the Director. The EO also removes the authority of the NRC to implement policies and procedures for the Department.
While combining the DNR and DEQ creates a great opportunity to improve resource management, with one swipe of a pen, the fundamental principals of Proposal G and science-based management of Michigan's natural resources will be severely eroded. This move puts more politics into the management of Michigan's natural resources, which completely undermines the purpose of creating a more effective Department. Removing politics from resource management was the collective goal of MUCC's founding members - it's time to bring that spirit all the way back from 1937 to Michigan's capitol.
In order to minimize the amount of political influence on resource management and retain the NRC's authority to appoint the director, there are two solutions:
(1) The Governor herself must rescind the Executive Order and change the provisions;
The only way to convince the Governor to re-write the EO is to place legislative and political pressure on her to do so. Sportsmen and women must contact their state representatives and senators to make this happen.
(2) Both the House and Senate must pass resolutions that send the Executive Order back to the Governor.
Resolutions to reject the EO have already been introduced in the House and Senate
Call or write your state representative and state senator and tell them that combining the DNR and DEQ is an opportunity to create a better Department, not to put politics above science in the management of Michigan's natural resources. Ask your elected lawmakers for their support, but also ask your state representative to specifically ask House Speaker Andy Dillon to bring a resolution up for a vote.
Find contact information for your state representative, http://www.house.mi.gov/find_a_rep.asp
Find contact information for your state state senator, http://www.senate.mi.gov/
The Executive Order 45 of 2009:
Reduces transparency - The EO reduces the transparency, openness and accessibility of the department. Hiring the director will now take place at the executive level and policies and procedures no longer have to move through the NRC. Transparency, openness and accessibility should be increasing, not the other way around.
Promotes a non-working structure - The new set-up of the Department would be very like the current DEQ, a structure no one thinks is working. Why would the state merge two departments and choose the structure very few people are happy with?
Puts politics above resource management/Proposal G - It is not the "idea" of bringing the departments together that we're trying to "overturn." However, MUCC's vision for a new department is "removing politics from resource management" as much as possible. This is what Proposal G was all about - Michigan citizens do not want politics and the popular vote to dictate resource management. This gubernatorial appointment puts more partisan politics into natural resource management by removing the buffer of the bipartisan NRC.
While the current NRC is surely "political" and far from perfect, giving the executive office control over the NRC and the department director will make the new DNRE entirely accountable to a politically-motivated executive. Vesting a politician with complete authority over the new department is the exact opposite direction we should be taking to move the new Department in the right direction
Last edited by signman; October 22nd, 2009 at 01:42 AM.
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