MI Legislature plans to combine DEQ and DNR to save on budget

EAST LANSING, MI – The state Senate plans to vote this week on melding the Department of Environmental Quality with the Department of Natural Resources.

The Senate plan approved by the Appropriations Committee last week would create a new department - the Department of Conservation. The department would be similar to the Department of Natural Resources before the DEQ was created by then-Governor John Engler.

Dave Nyberg is with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He says having the two departments together again would allow the state to maintain its natural resources more efficiently.

"Our natural resources in Michigan provide for one of the state's largest industries, which is tourism," he says. "And hunting and fishing and trapping are a big part of tourism in Michigan. And sportsman spend $3.4 billion annually in the state."

The Senate plan would cut DEQ spending by $6 million. The House voted to join the two departments last week and Governor Granholm supports combining the DNR and DEQ.