Lansing, MI – State lawmakers are expected to begin voting this week on more than 30 bills that would merge the Department of Environmental Quality back with the Department of Natural Resources.
The merger would be a reunion of sorts - the DNR and DEQ have been separate departments since 1995 when then-governor John Engler created the DEQ. Many lawmakers in Lansing say it makes sense for the departments to be back together and the move will increase department efficiency, as well as save the state money. But how much money will be saved isn't clear.
A House and Senate budget committee estimated savings at a few hundred thousand dollars, while Governor Granholm said it could be as much as $1.5 million. Granholm also wants to name the new department the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. But the Senate is expected to pass bills that keep the name the Department of Natural Resources, as it originally was.
The Legislature has to come to an agreement and pass the bills in the next few weeks for the department to be up and running by January 17th.