Mark Schauer, a former Democratic congressman from Michigan and now co-chair of the BlueGreen Alliance, is urging Gov. Rick Snyder to veto House Bill 4326, making it the governor’s first veto. As reported by MIRS news service, Schauer claims that HB 4326, which prohibits state agencies from promulgating regulations more stringent than federal requirements without legislative approval, is a potential threat to the Great Lakes.

HB 4326 has nothing to do with backsliding on environmental protection and everything to do with good government. “Regulation without representation,” where bureaucrats in cubicles churn out reams of regulations with little to no legislative oversight, is anathema to good government. Two pillars upon which a representative democracy rests are transparency and accountability; the current regulatory regime erodes both.

It is impossible for democratic ideals to flourish unless the electorate knows what the government is doing and has the opportunity to influence the outcome by holding elected officials accountable. HB 4326 enhances transparency and accountability in government by vesting important regulatory decisions with elected officials who are accountable to voters.

Contrary to environmentalists’ claims, there is nothing in HB 4326 that prohibits the Legislature from approving regulations more stringent than federal requirements. Special interests working directly with government employees effectively bypassing elected officials undermines the democratic process and is a threat to liberty. HB 4326 makes it more difficult for that to happen.

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