Gov. Whitmer signs executive directive adding Michigan to U.S. Climate Alliance

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer 2019 headshot
Posted at 11:39 AM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 13:22:44-05

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive orders and one executive directive on Monday aimed at restructuring the department of environmental quality while also adding the state to the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Executive Directive 2019-12 entered the state into the U.S. Climate Alliance, which is a bipartisan coalition of governors from 19 states that are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions similar to the Paris Climate Agreement.

The goal is to reduce greenhouse as emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. It also tracks and reports progress to the global community in appropriate settings, including when the world gets together for the Paris Agreement, and helps new and existing policies to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy.

In the directive, the director of the department of environmental quality will coordinate Michigan's efforts as part of the alliance. Other states involved include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

“This is about finding real solutions to clean up our drinking water so every Michigander can bathe their kids and give them a glass of water at the dinner table safely,” Whitmer in a release. “We have a chance to build a system that really works so we can protect our water and improve public health. We’ve also got to take action to protect our state from the effects of climate change."

Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2019-2, which will restructure the department of environmental quality as the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The order will create new offices within the department, including the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate, the Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate and the Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team. Liesel Clark will serve as the Director of the MDEGLE.

“This executive order will make sure that our state government is more responsive to problems with our drinking water and our environment,” Clark said in a release.

The order also creates a new office of climate and energy that will work with the governor on the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Executive Order 2019-3 strengthens the Michigan PFAS Action Response team which will help inform the public about PFAS, locate contamination and take action to protect drinking water from dangerous chemicals.