By Madelyn Van Eck
With the Executive Budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year released on February 17, 2011, there was much anticipation as to how Governor Snyder would allocate funding for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Funding proposals for the DEQ and DNR were not as harsh as they could have been and the Snyder team deserves an A grade for managing expectations – it did take a reference to a nuclear explosion from the Lieutenant Governor to accomplish as much, but the job was well done.
In Snyder’s budget proposal the DEQ is scheduled to receive $405.8 million and the DNR will receive $330.2 million, a combined total of $736 million. It’s tough to say precisely what those funding levels represent given the DNRE re-separation, but by way of comparison, the combined DNRE received roughly $719 million in 2011.
The toughest hit comes in general fund (discretionary) support for the DEQ and DNR which face proposed 15.1% and 14.3% cuts respectively.
The budget of DEQ and DNR – including both general funds and protected special funds – will increase 2.6% and 2.1% respectively – an increase at about the rate of inflation.
A few other environmentally destructive highlights from the proposal include:
- A $1.2 million reduction to assorted pollution prevention programs as part of the $3.8 million reduction goal in the general funds.
- A $1.1 million shift, originally allocated to Critical Dunes and Hazardous Waste Programs to other available restricted funds. (What this means for pollution prevention programs and the Critical Dunes and Hazardous Waste Programs is unknown.)
- Distribution of $134 million to local governments as grants and loans for environmental cleanup and pollution prevention. This includes $25 million for Great Lakes restoration efforts.
- The elimination of the dairy farm inspection program within the Department of Agriculture. This responsibility will be assumed by industry field representatives certified by the department to ensure food safety and public health.