Michigan lawmakers block Whitmer order in rare move

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Michigan Senate has rejected Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order to restructure the state environmental department — the first time lawmakers have outright blocked a governor’s move in more than 40 years.

The chamber voted 22-16 Thursday, more than a week after the GOP-controlled House voted.

Republicans oppose portions of the order that would abolish new oversight panels that were given a regulatory role under 2018 laws and create a new office to investigate “environmental justice” complaints. Whitmer says the commissions add too much bureaucracy to environmental rule-making and permitting. Democrats and environmentalist also contend they give businesses too much sway.

Republicans counter that the panels have not had a chance to get going, and they give landowners, farmers and businesses an “equal footing” with overzealous regulators.

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