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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Michigan DEQ Becomes Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Reginald Hardwick
/
WKAR-MSU
Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

There is a new state department in charge of environmental protection in Michigan starting today. That’s under an executive order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.  

Liesl Clark is the director of the new department. She says the state still has to deal with the Flint water crisis, and PFAS contamination of drinking water.

             

Clark says the new department will also focus on environmental justice and identifying new threats.

 

“That’s our job. We’re here to find the problems, and I want to encourage people to find the problems.”

 

Clark also says Michigan will join the US Climate Alliance – 23 states led by Republican and Democratic governors. It was formed to create a unified state response to President Trump’s plans to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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