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4 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 121 (1970-1971)
Michigan Environmental Protection Act of 1970

handle is hein.journals/umijlr4 and id is 129 raw text is: MICHIGAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
ACT OF 19701
Widespread public preoccupation with environmental quality is
a recent development, and one that has provided the impetus for a
thorough examination of existing governmental structures in order
to establish a functional system for the environment's protection
and improvement. Commenting on this development, a leading
environmental lawyer recently noted: [T]he explosion of concern
for the environment, at every private and governmental level, is
the great political phenomenon of the last twelve months.2 As
concern has grown about the quality of the environment, so too
has skepticism increased about the ability of present institutions
to cope with the problem.3 A constitutional amendment has even
been suggested as a necessary prerequisite to adequate protective
One of the principal sources of disillusionment with the respon-
siveness of governmental bodies to environmental problems is the
reaction of administrative agencies to the introduction of this new
area of public interest as a factor in the agency decision-making
process.5 Many agencies are viewed as being too closely associ-
ated with the interests of the industries and activities that are in
theory being regulated to effectively balance opposing priorities.6
I MicH. COMP. LAWS § § 691.1201-691.1207 (Supp. 1970). This Act incorporates the
provisions of a model bill drafted by Joseph L. Sax, Professor of Law, University of
Michigan, for the Western Michigan Environmental Action Council.
2 Sive, Some Thoughts of an Environmental Lawyer in the Wilderness ofAdministrative
Law, 70 COLUM. L. REV. 612 (1970).
3 See, for example, Ottinger, Legislation and the Environment: Individual Rights and
Government Accountability, 55 CORNELL L. REV. 666 (1970); Hildebrand, Noise Pollu-
tion: An Introduction to the Problem and an Outline for Future Legal Research, 70
COLUM. L. REV. 652, 655 (1970).
4 Ottinger, supra note 3, at 671- 672.
5See Office of Communications of the United Church of Christ v. Federal Commu-
nications Commission, 359 F.2d 994, 1003- 1004 (D.C. Cir. 1966) granting standing to
members of the listening public to intervene in and challenge the re-licensing of a local
television station by the FCC, in vindication of the public interest.
6 An extreme illustration of this problem is found in structure of the Interior Depart-
ment, commented upon by Ottinger, supra note 3, at 670:
Furthermore, the Interior Department is by design a truly schizoid agency.
Despite its environmental responsibilities, however tenuous they might be,
the agency is also the biggest developer and exploiter of natural resources in
the United States. Among other things, it is the largest single producer of
electric power, a licenser of offshore drilling, and a dam builder and devel-
oper second only, perhaps, to the Corps of Engineers. It is not surprising,
therefore, that Interior's concern for environmental protection is over-
shadowed by its obligations to the opposition.

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