press release


News from Progress Michigan

July 14, 2016

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Snyder Picks Ex-Oil Executive to Protect Air and Water?

Governor names former BP official to head of MDEQ, while taking $90k from oil lobby

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed a former executive with BP America to head up the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Snyder has received roughly $90,000 from the oil and gas industry since running for and becoming governor of Michigan.

Snyder picked Heidi Grether, a former BP America executive and lobbyist to replace the interim MDEQ director, Keith Creagh. Creagh took over the department after Dan Wyant resigned in disgrace due to his dismal handling of the Flint Water Crisis, which remains a pressing issue in the community.

“Tapping a former executive of the fossil fuel industry, which has been the chief engine of climate change denial and the degradation of air and water quality in our country and around the world, is not what Michigan needs at the head of the MDEQ,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Michigan is facing serious problems because of irresponsible and greedy oil companies, including rampant pollution in communities of color and environmental destruction from devastating oil spills. This is another example of Snyder choosing his corporate donors over the well-being of Michiganders and the communities where they stake their livelihoods and futures.”

Snyder has a habit of appointing people with close personal ties to the industries they’re charged with regulating. Last year, he appointed Norm Saari — a former lobbyist for Consumers Energy — to the Michigan Public Service Commission, where he was charged with regulating utilities.

“This is yet another appointment where Snyder has picked a fox to guard the hen house and it’s our communities, public health, air, and water that will pay for it,” Scott continued. “After watching the people of Flint suffer under Snyder’s manmade water crisis, a real leader would appoint someone with a career of fighting for people instead of profits. This appointment is further proof that at best Rick Snyder doesn’t get it , or at worst simply doesn’t care.”


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