The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is facing criticism for some its policies. Activists gathered at the DEQ’s Detroit office yesterday to protest the agency’s role in decisions they say negatively impact Michigan residents. The group pointed to the agency’ role in the the Marathon Oil refinery expansion as an example of governmental action that come at the cost of public health. Southfield resident Larry Quarles says the DEQ’s decision to allow oil drilling in a residential area of his city shows a lack of commitment to the people the agency is supposed to protect.
“I would believe that their duty would be to protect the environment and the quality of the environment and not just to rubberstamp to allow businesses and corporations to rule over how they issue permits for different things that affect our environment.”
Southfield resident Larry Quarles
Former Democratic state lawmaker Rashida Tlaib, now with Sugar Law, came with her two sons. She says she’s concerned for their health.
“You hear about one in five children in southwest Detroit having asthma. When you hear about the community right next to us having such high rates of hospitalization among adults for asthma and respiratory issues. There’s a huge impact, and people need to know what this human impact is and that’s why we’re here.”
Rashida Tlaib, Sugar Law and Former Michigan State Representative
The group also pointed to the Flint water crisis as another failure by the DEQ. The state department responded by issuing a statement saying it appreciates “public input and passion around these difficult topics,” and that the agency is “committed to protecting the health of Michiganders in communities across the state.”