In the wake of yesterday’s 4-3 decision by the Michigan Supreme Court in Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation vs. Nestle Waters North America, Inc, Dave Dempsey write:
Michigan’s future is much more at risk today because of the court’s attack on Michigan’s constitutionally protected natural resources.â€
Justices Taylor, Young, Corrigan and Markmanâ€”the Court’s right-wing ideological activists â€”were in the majority in striking down the Michigan Environmental Protection Act’s (MEPA) provisions allowing citizens to sue to enforce environmental laws, or so-called â€œstandingâ€. Three dissenting opinions by Justices Weaver, Kelley and Cavanaugh all concurred that the majority’s decision was at odds with the Michigan Constitution, which places a duty on the Michigan Legislature to protect natural resources*.
Read more of “brazen power grab” threatens Michigan’s air, water by Dave Dempsey.
The Freep weighs in with an opinion that begins:
By limiting who can sue over environmental issues, the Michigan Supreme Court has done what it often claims not to: ignored the plain language of a law and replaced the Legislature’s view with its own philosophy.
A section of the 1970 Michigan Environmental Protection Act allows virtually anyone in Michigan to take an environmental claim to court. It is, in fact, not a stretch to argue that a poor environmental decision, whether about a sand dune, wetland or smokestack permit, diminishes the character of the entire state. In fact, sometimes the people closest to environmental damage, but more desirous of the economic development that caused it, may not have the necessary will, or the means, to contest it. It was thus, under the law, left open for those farther afield to bring the case.
*Michigan Constitution, Sec. 52. Natural resources; conservation, pollution, impairment, destruction.
The conservation and development of the natural resources of the state are hereby declared to be of paramount public concern in the interest of the health, safety and general welfare of the people. The legislature shall provide for the protection of the air, water and other natural resources of the state from pollution, impairment and destruction.
History: Const. 1963, Art. IV, § 52, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964