Factories, businesses and other entities that emit pollutants have been notified that EGLE expects them to continue to adhere to environmental laws and all conditions of permits that were in force when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe order went into effect.
However, EGLE recognizes that social distancing requirements, temporarily idled operations and other COVID-related complications can make it unsafe or unreasonable right now to comply with certain obligations.
To address this challenge, EGLE has created a process where a regulated entity can request that the agency provide temporary, regulatory flexibility. Entities interested in flexibility submit an email to EGLE-EnforcementDiscretion@Michigan.gov.
They propose why they believe it is not reasonable to meet certain obligations, without endangering the health and welfare of employees or others, as a result of complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. They answer a series of questions, providing specific rationale on the necessity of altering their obligations and how they would mitigate any negative impacts created by the requested flexibility.
The agency reviews each request on a case-by-case basis to determine if a temporary alteration to a reporting or compliance requirement is appropriate. Requests are rejected if the flexibility being requested would not adequately protect human health and the environment.
A summary of all the requests EGLE has received and the agency's responses are available for public review in a regulatory flexibility spreadsheet that EGLE has posted on its website. This spreadsheet will be updated regularly.
EGLE regulates thousands of entities that are subject to Michigan's environmental requirements. Fewer than 100 requests for flexibility were submitted as of Friday, April 10 (the end date for the first round of requests included in the regulatory flexibility spreadsheet). A large percentage of these requests were for the suspension or postponement of reporting requirements, delays in scheduled emissions testing and administrative requirements. For requests that have been approved, whenever possible, EGLE requires that the activity be completed at a later date.
EGLE is continually reviewing, tailoring and amending processes in innovative ways that comply with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, while ensuring that the vital work of protecting Michigan's environment and public health is vigorously pursued.
For more information on how EGLE is responding to the pandemic, including its permitting process and expansion of methods for incorporating public input into permit requests and other matters, please review EGLE's Frequently Asked Questions document.