Our new Department of Environmental Quality director


Heidi Grether is our new Director of Environmental Quality. According to the Detroit News, August 10, 2016, she stated “I hope that people will see and understand that I am not coming at this as a particular person from a particular bent.” But another statement from her in the Detroit News on August 12, 2016, “Calls to shut down a pair of aging oil and natural gas pipelines buried beneath the Straits of Mackinac are premature,” sums it all up for me. Nothing will change in DEQ to address the threat from Pipeline 5 with her at the helm. Her vita states why: policy advisor and committee aide, Michigan Senate four years; vice president, environmental affairs, Michigan Manufacturer’s Association three years, 10 months.; legislative director for the Speaker of the House Michigan House of Representatives 10 months.; director government affairs, Amoco Corporation 15 years; state government affairs director, British Petroleum (BP) 15 years, one month, communications and external affairs lead, Deepwater Horizon Response BP/Swift Worldwide Resources eight months; general manager, Mississippi External Affairs, BP America, Inc. eight months, general manager, Gulf Coast External Affairs BP America, Inc. two years, one month; deputy director, State of Michigan, Michigan Agency for Energy, one year, one month. Her opening statement under the Background Summary on her Linkedin account states “Highly motivated, proactive, intelligent professional offering outstanding interpersonal and rapport-building skills to influence public policy and maintain stakeholder relationships.” So influencing public policy and ensuring stakeholder, aka, investor, relationships, is first and foremost to her. She just struck her colors in support of the Governor and his continued cowardice in shutting this pipeline down. The 33 plus years of her career has been in service to the oil industry and she is going to make our environment a high priority? If anybody believes that, well, my cousin in Indiana owns the Mackinac Bridge. She is up to her neck in oil and speaking of oil, there are still millions of gallons of oil sitting on approximately 1,200 square miles up to a mile deep, on the Gulf seafloor. Furthermore, 1,100 miles of shoreline were polluted, almost double the at risk shoreline at our Straits of Mackinac. But Ms. Grether knows all about this from her BP stint, but nobody wants to talk about it. Out of site, out of mind as the saying goes. That’s the public relations spin and my guess is she is a very good spinner. She’s not going to be our environmental steward, because her statement on Aug. 12, tells us she has no intention of bucking the Governor. Enbridge, Inc., makes $26.5 million per day on the Line 5 Straits oil at today’s oil prices.

Enbridge wants to keep it that way, so does our Governor. Birds of a feather flock together, and, unlike the thousands of birds that died from the BP Deep Horizon oil spill; these individuals are always able to keep their feathers clean.

Gerry Niedermaier