Gov. Rick Snyder today acted on recommendations from the state's Environmental Justice Work Group, including establishing a state ombudsman to serve as a statewide point of contact for the public to raise concerns regarding potential environmental justice issues.
Under Executive Directive 2018-3 the Governor also established an Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group composed of representatives from the state departments of Environmental Quality, Health and Human Services, Civil Rights, and Transportation, as well as the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The ombudsman will assist in the coordination of this group and facilitate further work on the other recommendations the work group provided in its March 2018 report.
"I appreciate the work of this group in identifying how Michigan can better protect residents in areas that are vulnerable to environmental hazards," Snyder said. "We now have direction for state agencies on to how to implement new policies and work more closely with environmental organizations and federally recognized tribes, as well as local leaders to serve residents and improve quality of life statewide."
Created in February 2017 by Gov. Snyder, the Environmental Justice Work Group was established after direct recommendations from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force and the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee's Policy Subcommittee. The work group was asked to develop and provide recommendations to the Governor that improve environmental justice awareness and engagement in state and local agencies.
The environmental justice ombudsman can be contacted at EJombudsman@michigan.gov.