Thursday, July 14, 2016

Snyder taps ex-BP official to run DEQ

(Photo: Handout photo)
Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday appointed a former BP America official who managed public relations in the company’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to run his troubled Department of Environmental Quality.
Heidi Grether of Williamston will replace interim DEQ Director Keith Creagh on Aug. 1. Creagh will return to the Department of Natural Resources as director, according to the governor’s office.
“Heidi has decades of experience in environmental quality issues, and has effectively served during times of crises and recovery,” Snyder said in a statement.
Grether was a registered lobbyist for BP America in Lansing from 1993 to 2008, state records show.

More ...

How Canada’s pipeline watchdog secretly discusses "ticking time bombs" with industry

By Mike De Souza in NewsEnergy | July 5th 2016 

Canada’s pipeline watchdog has given two of North America’s largest energy companies up to six months to fix what industry insiders have described as a series of “ticking time bombs.”
The National Energy Board waited eight years after U.S. regulators raised the alarm about substandard materials, finally issuing an emergency safety order in February. At least one Canadian pipeline with defective materials blew up during that period.

Newly-released federal documents show that Texas-based Kinder Morgan and Alberta-based Enbridge are both looking into the use of defective parts purchased from Thailand-based, Canadoil Asia, that recently went bankrupt. But the companies were not immediately able to say where they installed the dodgy parts. It’s a problem that also struck Alberta-based TransCanada, which had defective materials in its own pipelines, including one that blew up in 2013. More …

Monday, June 27, 2016

Email shows top doc got early warning on Legionnaires'

, Detroit News Lansing Bureau 9:12 a.m. EDT June 27, 2016


Lansing — The state’s top doctor was among high-level Michigan health officials briefed about a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County nearly one year before it was publicly disclosed, state records show.
Dr. Matthew Davis, who served on Gov. Rick Snyder’s Flint water task force, has previously denied having any knowledge of the Legionnaires’ outbreak prior to his April 2015 departure from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as the state’s chief medical executive.
But Davis was a recipient of a Jan. 28, 2015, email sent to top DHHS officials sounding alarms about the respiratory disease infection outbreak in the Flint area — an outbreak that ended up killing 12 people in a span of 18 months in 2014 and 2015. The email was part of more than 303,000 pages of records about Flint’s water crisis the Snyder administration released publicly last week.

More ...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Nestlé Pumps Millions of Gallons for Free While Flint Pays for Poisoned Water

As Flint residents are forced to drink, cook with and even bathe in bottled water, while still paying some of the highest water bills in the country for their poisoned water, we turn to a little-known story about the bottled water industry in Michigan. 

In 2001 and 2002, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued permits to Nestlé, the largest water bottling company in the world, to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from aquifers that feed Lake Michigan. This sparked a decade-long legal battle between Nestlé and the residents of Mecosta County, Michigan, where Nestlé’s wells are located. One of the most surprising things about this story is that, in Mecosta County, Nestlé is not required to pay anything to extract the water, besides a small permitting fee to the state and the cost of leases to a private landowner. In fact, the company received $13 million in tax breaks from the state to locate the plant in Michigan. 

The spokesperson for Nestlé in Michigan is Deborah Muchmore. She’s the wife of Dennis Muchmore—Governor Rick Snyder’s chief of staff, who just retired and registered to be a lobbyist.  More ...