Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and four other Democratic Great Lakes governors wrote a letter this week to President Donald Trump’s administration opposing an executive order over changes to water quality certifications.
Trump last week issued an executive order easing energy regulations that also alters the Clean Water Act, making it easier to approve pipeline projects. Both Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel already expressed their opposition.
The letter, which is led by Whitmer, also is signed by Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Tony Evers of Wisconsin and J. B. Pritzker of Illinois.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican who signed on to letter last month with Whitmer and Midwest governors standing up against Trump’s proposed Great Lakes cuts, was not part of this latest effort. Walz wasn’t part of the March letter.
The April 16 letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Trump’s order “disregards mounting environmental concerns to the public” and urges the adminstration to reconsider it.
The governors wrote that it is their “duty to safeguard the Great Lakes and other waters within their boundaries. State authority to certify, revoke, or revise federal permits of discharges into waters of the United States per Section 401 is crucial to the Clean Water Act’s framework of cooperative federalism. This authority allows states to maintain state water quality with respect to activities associated with federally permitted discharges.”
The letter concludes: “We strongly oppose any attempt by this administration to undermine state authority and ability to enforce water quality standards. We remain committed to do what is necessary to protect sources of drinking water, public health and our environment. The residents of our states deserve to have this critical work continue unimpeded.”