Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 2, 2007

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm Signs Environmental Justice Executive Order

On November 21, 2007, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm issued Executive Order 2007-23, “Promoting Environmental Justice.” The Executive Order directs the Department of Environmental Quality to develop and implement a state environmental justice plan to promote environmental justice in the State of Michigan.  An environmental justice working group is to be appointed to aid in the development of the plan.  Among other things, the Plan is to: Identify and address discriminatory public health or environmental effects of state laws, regulations, policies, and activities on Michigan residents, including an examination of disproportionate impacts; Include measures to prevent discriminatory or negative public health or environmental effects of state laws, regulations, policies, or activities, including, but not limited to, disproportionate negative impact of state laws, regulations, policies or activities relating to public health and the environment; and Provide policies and procedures for state departments and agencies to ensure that environmental justice principals are incorporated into departmental and agency decision-making and practices. The Department is to report on its progress by July 1, 2008. 

The Executive Order can be accessed at: http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-36898-180696–,00.html  

Hat tip to George Jackson for reporting this on his blog the BICEP Bulletin (Blog for Innovation in Community & Environmental Planning) at: http://bicepbulletin.blogspot.com


Responses

  1. The real problem is that poor communities are targeted for dumping of waste.

    Here in Michigan, Bay Harbor, a luxury resort, built on a toxic cement kiln dust (CKD) dump, is sending plumes of hazardous waste to Lake Michigan. They water their golf courses a million gallons a day, and the water leaches down into the CKD and produces hazardous waste. The company’s answer is not to remove the CKD. Rather, they propose to truck leachate to a poor community 60 miles away. (To date they capture only about 5% of the leachate. The rest flows into Lake Michigan.) They propose to inject 135,000 gallons per day into the heart of the headwaters of 6 MI rivers.

    But in Michigan, only Flint and Detroit fit the catagories of poor etc. enough, and at any rate EPA Environmental Justice is a policy, not law.

    The policy is basicly a guide to identify groups that are at a disadvantage in the process of participating in placing of “facilities” that could be harmful or a nuisance. Poverty, health and economic criteria are factors.

    Sadly, there is no law, just policy, and there is no evidence that any Environmental Injustice has ever been found in MI due to the fact that the EPA does not keep records.

    Granholm’s Environmental Justice is about religion, race, color, or national origion. It does not address the class discrimination that is the standard.

    Granholm has asked the DEQ (a development permitting agency) to produce a state environmental justice “plan” to “promote” environmental justice. We need regulation and law. We need the EPA and DEQ to require CMS to remove or isolate and contain the CKD.

    All the rest is cheap window dressing.


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