Last week, Gov. Jennifer Granholm issued an executive order creating the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, effective Jan. 17, 2010.
Granholm's order will abolish the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and reverse an action by former Gov. John Engler to create the DEQ in 1995.
In a news release, Granholm said, "The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is a new department for the 21st Century."
Experience has shown us that conserving natural resources and protecting the environment go hand-in-hand. These efforts now will be coordinated under one department."
We hope so.
Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms of the two agencies has been their failing to cooperatively share information and work together.
In an interview this week, DNR Director Rebecca Humphries said "I'm hoping as we recombine, we can look at real avenues to do a better job. I think most citizens look at the quality of their environment based on whether the habitat's good for fish and wildlife, whether the fish are safe to eat, whether the human health aspects are there."
And so the more that we can try and create opportunities to make sure that we are managing that on an ecosystem basis, I think the better off we'll be. But that's where it gets tricky. The devil's always in the details no matter how you try and do this."
We wish the officials and staff orchestrating the transition to the new DNRE-including Transition Manager Bruce Rasher-our best in their efforts.
We think the streamlining idea is a good one, hoping to see the cooperative efforts Granholm and Humphries anticipate will come to fruition for the good of everyone.
As important as natural resources and environmental quality are to the Upper Peninsula, we need a streamlined agency capable of responding effectively on numerous fronts.
A new department for the 21st Century indeed.
MINING JOURNAL, MARQUETTE