Shake up at MDEQ?

30 Nov 2011

Rumor has it that the MDEQ has announced two major staff changes. Randall Gross, MDEQ’s Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, is reportedly leaving in mid-December.  Randy was previously director of Environmental and Regulatory Policy at Michigan Manufacturers Association as well as Deputy Legal Counsel/Policy Advisor at the Michigan House of Representatives.  MDEQ is recruiting a replacement.  Randy’s loss is big as he brought the regulated community’s perspective to the agency.

Perhaps even more significant, I have learned that Lynelle Marolf, Chief of MDEQ’s Remediation Division (“RD”), is leaving that role effective next week.  Senior Policy Advisor Anne Couture, who only recently rejoined the agency, is reported to be serving as interim division chief while MDEQ looks for a permanent replacement.

Lynelle’s departure from a major role she has held for a number of years may be quite significant as the Remediation Division has been viewed by many as inordinately conservative when reviewing requests for closures of sites that have been cleaned up.  The RD has been roundly criticized as far more conservative than its counterparts in most other states.  Whether this signals a “sea change” in the agency’s approach, allowing brownfields to be put back into beneficial uses more easily than before remains to be seen.

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