Senate subcommittee approves 2020 DNR and DEQ budgets

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, on Thursday joined his colleagues on the Natural Resources and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee in unanimously approving the subcommittee budgets.

“I think this is a great place to start,” said Bumstead, who chairs the subcommittee. “We’ve worked with the departments and had great discussions as to where the funds can be utilized most effectively. These two budgets cover a vast amount of subject matter, so we really had to do our homework. We’re working on items ranging from chronic wasting disease to water quality standards to the upkeep of our state’s trail systems.”

The plans approved Thursday afternoon include funding for a number of measures, most notably, water quality. It would add $120 million to current efforts to address water quality issues such as PFAS and other contaminants, Lead and Copper Rule implementation, well testing and more.

Also included is funding to address the growing concern surrounding chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Michigan. The subcommittee recommendation included $2 million in one-time funding for research on the transmission, spread, and prevention of CWD. An additional $300,000 is also included for increased lab costs because of the number of deer being tested.

Other measures include restoring dam management funding eliminated in the governor’s recommendation earlier this year; increased grant funding for communities for the storm water, asset management and wastewater program; and continued strong support for parks and recreation.

Bumstead, who also serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, said Thursday’s action was a good first step and he hopes the two chambers can work together with the governor to come up with a final product that keeps Michigan moving forward.

“The main goal that I have, and that many of my colleagues have, is to continue the trend of getting a final product completed well before the beginning of the next fiscal year,” Bumstead said. “Our natural resources and environment are critical to our state’s success and well-being, and I believe the budgets approved today focus on many important issues and uses funds responsibly where they need to be used.”

Thursday’s action moves both budgets to the full Senate Committee on Appropriations for further consideration.

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