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EQB reorganization approved

Published (4/29/2011)
By Sue Hegarty
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The executive director of the Environmental Quality Board said a bill to trim the board’s composition and duties is premature.

Bob Patton told the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee April 26 that an analysis of the board’s functions is due out next January and that HF1360 should be tabled until that study can be reviewed.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Nelson Township), the bill would eliminate the citizen members and reassign some of the board’s oversight to the Clean Water Council. The committee approved the bill 7-6 and sent it to the House Government Operations and Elections Committee. It has no Senate companion.

The EQB consists of nine state agency heads, five citizen members and a governor’s appointee who serves as the board chair. The board writes the rules for conducting environmental reviews and publishes environmental review documents and comment periods in its “EQB Monitor.” Under the proposed changes, the publication would continue and the board would meet at the call of the governor.

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