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Bipartisan state budget equips EGLE to protect public health and the environment in 2023

Tall grass at Sleeping Bear Dunes National LakeshoreThe Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is gearing up for a productive year following passage of a bipartisan state budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2022. The $75.5 billion budget includes $729 million for EGLE’s general fund: a 31% increase over the current year.

The budget, approved July 1, also creates the equivalent of 53 new full-time positions to address drinking water, wastewater and air permitting, contaminated site cleanup, and grants and loan management, along with seven limited-term positions to help address Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding available for energy efficiency grants and to close orphaned, or abandoned, oil and natural gas wells found throughout the state.

Among the largest allocations are $30 million for legacy contamination cleanup, $31 million for orphan well closure, and $48 million in technical assistance that can help communities apply for funds to replace lead water lines or other water infrastructure.

“This budget is a vote of confidence in the dedicated EGLE team members who live out our mission to protect Michigan’s environment and public health,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “Our funding and people make a big difference every day in communities across the state by supporting local leaders and residents in driving progress toward a cleaner environment, improved drinking water, and good jobs for Michigan workers.”

EGLE invests more than half of its budget in Michigan communities in the form of financial assistance to local governments.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature have worked together on a balanced, bipartisan budget.

“Our bipartisan budget delivers on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to Michigan families, including access to clean and safe drinking water and protection of our air, water, land, and energy resources,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Together, we are making historic investments in Michigan’s infrastructure, lowering the cost of higher education, protecting public safety, and so much more. I will work with anyone to ensure working families can thrive.”

Clark said the general fund allocation, along with increases in federal dollars and funding restricted to specific purposes, will support efforts for permit process efficiency, contaminated site cleanups, infrastructure financing, and other core programs.

Here’s a closer look at ongoing general fund and staffing increases within EGLE:

  • Legacy contamination cleanup: $30 million, 16 full-time-equivalent positions (FTEs).
  • Drinking water permitting: $7.9 million, seven FTEs.
  • Air quality permitting: $4.4 million, 15 FTEs.
  • Geological survey: $3 million.
  • Municipal assistance: $1.4 million, four FTEs.
  • Wastewater permitting: $1.19 million, seven FTEs.
  • Watershed council grants: $600,000.
  • Radiological protection: $175,000.

The following are one-time increases:

  • Technical assistance to help communities apply for funds to replace lead water lines or other water infrastructure: $48 million. 
  • Orphan well closures: $31 million, two limited-term FTEs.
  • Energy efficiency grants: $23 million, five limited-term FTEs.
  • Refined Petroleum product cleanup: $19.1 million to reappropriate an expiring work project.
  • Buffalo Reef stamp sands remediation: $10 million.
  • Contaminated site cleanup: $10 million.
  • Private well testing: $5 million.
  • Disposal of firefighting foam containing PFAS: $500,000.
  • Cooperative lakes monitoring program: $150,000.

The department also received a $2.9 million total general fund increase and four FTEs for grants and records management, of which $2 million is one-time only.


Caption: Tall grass at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.