Environmental law in Michigan has matured in several ways since the publication of the first
edition and supplements of the Michigan Environmental Law Deskbook in
the 1990s. In many respects, the expansion of environmental law and practice
that we observed during the early 1990s, particularly concerning investigation
and remediation of contaminated sites, slowed after 2000. In other respects,
Michigan environmental law and policy has broadened to address perceived
economic and social (and perhaps global) impacts of environmental regulation.
We saw the codification of
Michigan environmental statutes into a single chapter of the Michigan Compiled
Laws, the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), 1994 PA
451, MCL 324.101 et seq. As a result of the codification, we now speak
of Part 201 of NREPA rather than Act 307, and we refer to Part 303 instead of
the Goemaere-Anderson Wetland Protection Act. This legislative codification
resulted directly from the Environmental Law Section’s compilation of
environmental statutes published in 1992.
saw Governor Engler in Executive Order 1995-18 split the former Department of Natural Resources into two
departments, the Department of Natural Resources to manage public lands and
wildlife and the Department of Environmental Quality to regulate pollution
emissions and issue permits for activities that affect the environment.
Governor Granholm reversed the split in January 2010, when she merged the two
departments into the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Executive
Order 2009-45. Governor Snyder restored the split in Executive
Order 2011-1. Reasonable minds can differ on the wisdom of each of these
moves, but each became a fact of our law practice.
saw significant amendment of the former Act 307, so that, in one view, the
present Part 201 contains a more rational liability scheme tethered to the
concept of causation, or, in another view, it relieves some formerly liable
parties from many of their obligations to remediate contaminated sites.
saw an initial focus on the cleanup of highly contaminated sites under
compulsion of judicial or administrative orders broadened to include the
remediation and redevelopment of less contaminated “brownfield” sites, often
financed by government incentives rather than legal compulsion.
second edition of the Deskbook reflects this maturation of Michigan
environmental law. Several chapters, such as brownfields, takings, criminal,
ADR, and climate change, have been added to reflect current law and practice.
Some chapters in the first edition have been dropped because the subject areas
are outside the core needs of most readers. Other chapters have been divided or
consolidated for clarity.
Deskbook is now freely available, because the Environmental Law Section
takes seriously its mission to educate the public. The second edition takes
advantage of current technology by being available primarily on-line. (Readers
who wish to order—at cost—a printed version should read the Reader’s Guide.)
To keep the text as current as possible, chapter authors will include new
cases, legislation, administrative rules and other developments through
law will continue to evolve. For instance, we have seen several efforts in
Michigan, as well as at federal and international levels, to respond to the
issue of climate change (discussed in Chapter 21). While we do not now know
what these efforts will produce, the Deskbook will cover them, as well
as other topics important to practitioners, with up-to-date and reliable
Jeffrey K. Haynes