Friday, July 15, 2016

Snyder Did It Again, Y'all

He did it again.

Rick Snyder – I don’t use his title because I like to pretend that he’s not my governor – flipped the bird to the citizens of our Great Lake State by appointing an oil and gas industry lobbyist to head the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

This is the same state department that remains under fire for contributing to the poisoning of the water in Flint, an hour northeast of my home, and sickening its 100,000 residents who are largely African-American and economically disadvantaged.

Deepwater Horizon
Heidi Grether, who starts her new job in a few weeks, was a registered lobbyist for none other than BP America, the conglomerate responsible for the calamitous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. (You know, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, the one that killed 11 crewmembers and spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.) In fact, she worked on external communications as part of BP’s accident response team. Before that she was a lobbyist for Amoco, the global oil and chemical company that merged with BP in 1988.

And now she’ll be heading up the state agency charged with “promoting wise management of Michigan’s air, land and water resources to support a sustainable environment, healthy communities and a vibrant economy.”

Heidi Grether
I’m sure she’s a nice, talented woman – well, I’m not sure of that at all but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt – but appointing her to this important position is akin to asking a racist to donate to the NAACP. It just doesn’t make sense.

I’ve written about the Flint crisis before – see F*ck You, Flint, Slimy Snyder and the Water Crisis, Part Two and Pure Michigan My Ass - and I’d like to not write about it again. But as long as Snyder keeps slapping his constituents in the face, I’ll keep slapping back. I never liked arrogant assholes and I sure don’t like it when they pick on people who can’t defend themselves.

By the way, did you know that according to a group called Progress Michigan, Snyder has received roughly $90,000 from the oil and gas industry since running for and becoming governor? I’m sure that wagonload of cash had absolutely no bearing on the appointment process in the Executive Office.

As I discussed with a Facebook friend, it’s easy to bemoan and criticize; the hard part is knowing what to do about the problem and doing it. In this case, it’s simple, we agreed. V-O-T-E. Rick Snyder never should have been elected with 58 percent of the vote in 2010 and re-elected by 51 percent of those who voted in 2014. (If I believed in god, I’d thank her for the fact that he’s term-limited and will only be able to screw shit up for two more years.) If more people would get off their asses and spend five minutes of Election Day helping to select their leaders, we just might save the state – or at least loosen the GOP’s grip on Michigan’s State Capital.

My friend Lisa Wozniak, who heads up the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, responded to Snyder’s insulting move thusly:

“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."

And Progress Michigan’s Lonnie Scott said, ““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. 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.”

That about sums it up.

Note: Readers might notice that I’ve started using uncensored versions of bad words in my writing. I was told that because we’re all grownups and it’s pretty obvious what words I’m choosing, I might as well stop being a pussy and spell the damn things out. So that’s what I’m doing. If you’re offended by the new me, don’t just bemoan and criticize. V-O-T-E.

Sources: Detroit Free Press, U.S. Census Bureau, Progress Michigan.

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