March 15th, 2019

On March 15, Attorney General Nessel continued to follow through on her campaign promises by withdrawing Michigan from a federal lawsuit that challenged the legitimacy of certain bodies of water being protected under the federal Clean Water Act. The lawsuit sought to remove federal oversight proposed by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers that would place almost all large bodies of water under federal protection, including the Great Lakes. Concerning the withdrawal, Attorney General Nessel stated  “as Michiganders, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the Great Lakes and all our waterways and wetlands, while Michigan has protective regulations in place, this lawsuit sought to weaken the federal law which establishes minimum nationwide standards for protecting our shared water resources, including the Great Lakes. This was a compelling reason for us to withdraw.” 

On Oct. 25, Nessel joined 22 other Attorneys General in the filing of a comment letter opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule which would unlawfully curtail state authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act arguing that the proposed rule is an ‘unlawful and misguided policy that would degrade water quality and infringe on states’ rights.’

In a similar action the Attorney General filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in California Trout v. Hoopa Valley Tribe that would limit states’ ability under Section 401 to ensure their water quality standards are applied to projects needing federal licenses and permits

On Sept. 27, Attorney General Nessel continued to protect Michigan’s environment from the Trump Administration by joining a lawsuit of 17 other Attorneys General and the city of New York against Trump’s rollback of the Endangered Species Act. Michigan is home to multiple species that are listed as endangered, and these rollbacks would do considerable damage to these tenuous populations. The new Trump rules would not only add economic considerations to the Endangered Species Act instead of science-driven and species focused analyses, but also push the responsibility for protecting endangered species and habitats to the state, detracting from the states’ efforts to carry out their own programs and imposing significant costs to our already strained state budget.