The Grand Rapids Press quotes former Michigan Governor William Milliken as saying that Michigan’s Environmental Protection Act included the word “anyone” to give anyone the right to sue over damage to the state’s water, air or land.
“It was clearly the intent of the Legislature and clearly my intent when I signed that bill that any citizen would have the right to sue,” he said last week at his home on Grand Traverse Bay. “They (the Supreme Court) have so narrowed down the ability of a person to bring a lawsuit, it has negated the intent of the Legislature.”
Chief Justice Clifford Taylor said in an interview last week “We prefer the ruling that says, ‘If you haven’t been damaged, you can’t sue.’” Taylor and three other justices concluded that the “anyone” provision violated the U.S. Constitution, but Joseph Sax (author of the 1970 law) said the section of the Constitution they refer to applies only to federal court cases and never was intended to limit a state’s right to grant standing to a broader group and “They’re just wrong. This doesn’t have anything to do with federal law. If a state wants to grant someone a legal right to protect the quality of the environment, it can do that.”