Federal and state programs and funding are critical to protecting Michigan’s economy, environment, and quality of life. Michigan relies on the federal government to develop and enforce regulations, provide funding, and study environmental issues. Changes at the federal level directly affect the State of Michigan’s ability to enforce regulations, fund important efforts, issue permits, and provide training and other services. These changes also impact local governments and organizations that receive funding directly from the federal government and that benefit from federally funded state programs.
As leaders in ensuring every Michigander has access to clean air and water and can enjoy our state’s beauty, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Michigan Environmental Council hired Public Sector Consultants to perform an independent analysis of how federal and state environmental programs work together to benefit Michigan communities and what changes to those programs could mean.
This report directs attention to the largest sources of environmental program funding in Michigan: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). In fiscal year 2017, the DEQ received more than $139 million from the federal government—more than a quarter of its budget. The vast majority of these monies came from the EPA. The president has proposed a 31 percent reduction to the EPA’s budget, and Michigan’s governor, House of Representatives, and Senate have recommended fiscal year 2018 reductions to the DEQ’s budget, further compounding the president’s proposed EPA cuts. State-level changes, particularly those made without considering likely federal cuts, could have dire impacts on Michigan communities’ ability to protect public health and local ecosystems.
Some environmental programs are at greater risk than others. In particular, the president proposes eliminating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and Sea Grant as well as significantly reducing the Superfund and Brownfields Programs. These programs provide critical support to Michigan communities—via the DEQ and directly to local governments and organizations—to remediate properties, improve local economies, and protect public health. In fiscal year 2016, Michigan communities benefited from:
- $48.7 million in GLRI funding for pollution cleanup, invasive species prevention and control, algal bloom prevention, and native species habitat restoration
- $15 million in Superfund funding for contamination prevention and cleanup at some of the most polluted sites across the state
- $2.22 million in funding for the federal Brownfields Program that is used for contamination prevention, assessment, and cleanup
- $1.8 million in Sea Grant funding for fishery research, beach and boater safety, environmental protection, algal bloom monitoring, icebreaking, maritime security, and rescue capabilities
The content of this report was developed via research that included interviews with representatives from the Michigan DEQ, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), and House Fiscal Agency. Additionally, USAspending.gov data, which details all federal funding over $3,000, was used to refine the list of programs described below. The lists of each the top 50 EPA grants and the top 50 U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants provided to Michigan recipients in fiscal year 2016 can be found in Appendices A and B, respectively.
A copy of the full report is available below.