Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Downtown Grand Rapids

There’s been a lot of development in Grand Rapids lately. Some of those can be attributed to brownfield redevelopment – a financially-based incentive which can help turn contaminated or neglected buildings into new residential and business sites across the city.  WGVU News Intern Kayla Tucker explores the process.

"Brownfield redevelopment is really an urban development tool in Grand Rapids and the vast majority of the projects that you see in the city are brownfield redevelopment projects."

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

The Michigan Senate will hold a hearing on Gov. Rick Snyder's pick to lead the Department of Environmental Quality in the wake of Flint's water crisis.

A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans said Tuesday that the Senate Natural Resources Committee will meet Sept. 7 to consider the appointment of Heidi Grether.

The selection of the former oil and gas lobbyist has drawn criticism from Democrats and environmentalists. But Grether, who began the job on Aug. 1, is unlikely to be rejected by the GOP-led Senate.

Snyder: DEQ pick will do a good job

Aug 12, 2016
Heidi Grether.

Governor Rick Snyder has taken hits for naming an oil company lobbyist to run the state’s environmental protection department.

But the governor says critics will be pleasantly surprised by Heidi Grether.

Environmentalists complained Grether spent most of her career as an oil company lobbyist. Snyder says Grether deserves the chance to prove herself.

“I can understand people having concerns, but, again, get to know her, give her an opportunity, and I think you’re going to see good results,” he said.

Lake Michigan
3bylunch via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia.org

State officials have released the second part of a 30-year plan to manage, protect and improve Michigan's water resources.

The Department of Environmental Quality's Office of the Great Lakes developed the strategy.

The portion announced Wednesday says that there should be an increased focus on sustainable expansion of water recreation and water-based business.

The focus includes renewing waterfronts and improving the state's commercial and recreational harbors.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / pixabay.com

Members of the public told a state panel that they have concerns about landfills in their backyards.

The hearing on Wednesday was part of the Department of Environmental Quality’s waste management task force.

The task force was created in April of 2015. Its job is to come up with ways to increase recycling and re-use of trash in the state. 

Steve Sliver is the acting chief of the state Office of Waste Management and Radiological Protection.

He says the panel is hoping to create laws to promote sustainability in Michigan.

Plans are getting underway to send less trash to landfills in Michigan and find more ways to re-use it.

The task force plans a hearing in Lansing tomorrow.

Sean Hammond of the Michigan Environmental Council serves on the task force.

He says the idea is that a lot of what is currently tossed out as trash be converted to a new use, composted, or re-cycled into energy or new products.

A veteran oil company lobbyist who joined Michigan's energy agency last year will lead the state Department of Environmental Quality in the wake of Flint's water crisis.

Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday announced the appointment of Heidi Grether as DEQ director, effective Aug. 1.

She's been deputy director of the Michigan Agency for Energy for a year.

Keith Creagh has led the DEQ for six months since Dan Wyant resigned due to fallout from Flint's lead contamination.

Creagh returns to directing the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Grand Rapids contaminated site and testing area
Courtesy, EPA

A Tuesday night townhall meeting tackles environmental contamination in a Grand Rapids neighborhood.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the LINC Gallery at 341 Hall St. SE.

Speakers include Guy Williams of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, as well as representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.


LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says more than $2.9 million in grants will help develop new uses for old vehicle tires.

The grants announced this week support Gov. Rick Snyder's initiative to double the state's residential recycling rate to 30 percent.

They fund projects that use rubber-modified asphalt in construction and repairs to improve Michigan roadways; research to find new and better ways to incorporate scrap tire rubber into asphalt and concrete; and equipment projects to increase the use of scrap tires.

Mariano Avila / WGVU

As residents and businesses wait for the Environmental Protection Agency testing at a site near Hall and Madison, WGVU’s Mariano Avila tells us how the situation began and where things stand today.

It was in 2013 that officials first realized the site was contaminated from having been a dry cleaner in a previous life. Abigail Hendershott is an environmental quality analyst with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She’s the one that figured out there was a problem.