By: - August 21, 2019 3:04 pm

As the Michigan Legislature prepares to return to work full-time after its summer recess, House Democrats announced Wednesday a package of bills aimed at cleaning up the state’s air quality.

At a school in Dearborn not far from a steel plant with a long history of air quality violations, a group of Democratic state representatives announced the legislation they say will focus on “increasing protections, curbing emissions and holding corporate polluters accountable.”

House Democrats announce clean air legislation in Dearborn | House Dems photo

“Michigan’s success is directly tied to whether or not the people of this state are able to work and live in safety, because at the end of the day, people and businesses alike don’t want to be someplace where the air is unbreathable,” said state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn). “Our package aims to ensure that success for tomorrow by protecting the air our families breathe today.”

According to a flyer distributed by the House Democrats, the bills would require all state departments and agencies to consider air quality in decision-making, require notification of air quality standard violations to be provided to state legislators and local officials, and require the state’s department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to consider socioeconomic variables when reviewing permit requests, among other measures.

Bob Allison, deputy director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, praised the bills in a statement.

“Every community in our state should have clean air to breathe and safe, affordable water to drink, and this legislation would establish much-needed protections to hold big polluters accountable,” Allison said. “It’s time to put citizens first – those directly impacted by the dangerous pollution spreading sickness and contributing to climate change.”

Gideon D’Assandro, spokesman for state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), said his boss has not yet had the opportunity to review the legislation. The House will return to session on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

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Derek Robertson
Derek Robertson

Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.