Michigan League of Conservation Voters Disappointed With New Head of MDEQ

Michigan LCV has consistently advocated for a DEQ director that will make public health and the protection of the environment a top priority.

 

Our organization, along with nearly a dozen other leading environmental and conservation groups, sent a letter to Gov. Snyder detailing what expertise and priorities are needed from the next director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

 

Our coalition articulated that this critically important agency is in need of someone who has the background and experience to be a strong advocate for the health of our communities and our environment.

 

Today it was announced that Heidi Grether will be appointed to the post—an announcement that seems to fly in the face of that vision. In addition to her experience at the Michigan Agency for Energy, Ms. Grether has spent much of her career handling public relations and lobbying on behalf of BP—including handling public relations around the oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

While we are committed to working with Ms. Grether in this new role, we do question the Governor’s priorities in appointing someone with deep ties to the oil industry to the task of rebuilding Michiganders’ trust in our state environmental protection agency.

 

After the Flint water crisis clearly demonstrated there were cultural problems within the DEQ, this appointment is a concerning development.

 

While appointments are the responsibility of the Governor, it is more important than ever that the Legislature develop means for Michiganders to oversee the actions of the DEQ to ensure that it is truly working in the interest of our communities and the natural resources we all depend on.