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Lansing – Legislation to weaken the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has ensnared Lansing in a spat over the agency’s usefulness.

One side is insisting the legislation tramples over ordinary citizens and the other side says the measure is too lax.

The first of the trio of bills would generate a private-interest panel with veto power over the department’s rulemaking process. The other two would establish a permit appeal panel and an advisory board of scientific experts.

Sen. Tom Casperson, considered a champion of deregulation, is leading the effort. In January, the Republican-controlled Senate backed the bills on a mostly 26-11 party-line vote.

Casperson’s bills now sit in the GOP-led House Committee on Natural Resources, which intends to vote on them within a few weeks after the spring recess.

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