February 9th, 2018

Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909

House of Representatives
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Michigan State Senate
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Dear Governor Snyder,

As members of the Great Lakes Business Network (GLBN), which formed around the common goal of protecting the Great Lakes and the blue economy that depends on the health of our freshwater, we strongly oppose Senate Bills 652, 653 and 654 and urge you to veto them if they reach your desk. These bills are fundamentally reckless because they ask regulated industries to set their own rules when it comes to protecting the health of Michigan families and our natural resources from environmental harm and pollution. As responsible business owners, we support the executive authority of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), maintaining its authority for protecting our water and way of life.

We support safeguards for the environment and public health while also supporting economic health and development. When balancing environmental and development interests there are sometimes conflicts. However, these interests are not at diametric odds and need to be carefully balanced. A healthy environment is essential for the operation of strong businesses in Michigan. These bills put forth a false premise that there is an imbalance in favor of environmental protections. For example, in Fiscal Year 2016, the MDEQ issues more than 99.7% (8,862 out of 8,882) of requested permits. As business owners, this does not strike us as unreasonably favorable toward the environment and against business interests.

If these bills pass, special interests would be sitting on panels deciding the fate of DEQ rules – the requirements that are intended to prevent degradations in the first place. Foreign companies would be allowed to sit on panels too – Enbridge, a Canadian oil and pipeline company, could sit on a panel and theoretically make decisions on rules related to their infrastructure and business interests, including the Line 5 oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac.

Signing these bills would undermine your recent proposals laid out following your 2018 State of the State address, which we believe are good for the environment and economy. As communities across Michigan face the very real dangers of polluted air, land and water, the stakes for bad environmental decision making are high. The State of Michigan should invest money into addressing these issues – many of which are very problematic for businesses – but we encourage you to take very seriously all preventative measures, including strengthening the budget and authority for the DEQ, which these set of bills directly threaten.

The below signatories urge you to not support these bills and to continue moving forward with providing the DEQ with the resources and initiatives that protect Michigan’s communities and resources.

Larry Bell
Bells Brewery
Upper Hand Brewery

Beth Price
Beth Price Photography

Charlie Harrett
Boyne Boat Yard

Kris Spaulding
Brewery vivant

Corey Wallace
Cadatonic Graphic Solutions

Courtney Lorenz
Cultured Ferments
Kim Phillips
Clearwater Lakeshore Motel

Ryan Enderle
Detroit Music Works
Infinity Operations LLC

Charlie Wunsch
Edible Grand Traverse

Eric Karns
Elk Brewing

Timothy Fitzgerald Young
Food for Thought

Kristi Avery
FOR investing

Liz Wonder
Founders Brewing Co.

Paul Spata
Great Turtle Kayak Tours

Matt Gallagher
Half Acre

Michael S. McHugh
Hydro-Stacker MI

Juliette King
King Orchards

Richard Bergmann
Lake Charlevoix Brewing Co

Lee  Kramer
LeRoy Kramer, III

Dan Sloboda
Patagonia

Chris Shepler
Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry

Whitney Ermatinger
Speciation Artisan Ales

Rick Schmitt
Stormcloud Brewing Company

Bill Latka
Storylicious

Elliott Rader
The Gluten Free Bar

Raymond R. Minervini II
The Minervini Group LLC

Dave McGinnis
Traverse Tall Ship Co.

Mark Constance
UpNorth Voice