2017 Environmental Issues Forum

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Lansing

$270 Members / $295 Future Members

Please join us for a comprehensive update on the most current developments in the environmental arena with leading expert attorneys, government officials, and top consultants. Now in its 18th year, don’t miss this popular, top-notch program held only once every year!


  • Welcome and Opening Comments
    Charlie Denton, Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Chamber Legislative Agenda/Priorities
    Jason Geer, Director of Energy & Environmental Policy, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • MIOSHA/OSHA Compliance and Enforcement Updates
    Don Lawless, Barnes & Thornburg LLP.
  • MDEQ Priorities and Updates
    DEQ Director Heidi Grether (confirmed)
  • Hazardous Waste Generator Requirements Reforms
    Tammy Helminski, Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Michigan Air Quality Division Permitting Program Developments
    Lynn Fiedler/Annette Switzer, MDEQ Air Quality Division; Rhiana Dornbos, NTH Consultants
  • New MDEQ Cleanup Criteria – Vapor Intrusion, Emerging Contaminants and “Brownfields” Redevelopment
    Matt Schroeder, Dragun Corp; Rob Ferree, Geosyntec Consultants; Matthew Naud, City of Ann Arbor
  • EPA Regulatory Reforms Implications for Michigan
  • Environmental Justice and Citizens Suits Risks: Flint Lessons Yet to Be Learned
    Margrethe Kearney, Environmental Law & Policy Center; Charlie Denton, Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Expert Presenters:

Charles DentonCharlie Denton, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, has coordinated and facilitated the Environmental Issues Forum for over 13 years. He is a member of the firm’s national Environmental Law Department, which was recently recognized as Tier 1 for National Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation in the annual “Best Law Firms” ranking by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. He focuses his practice on environmental agency enforcement defense, toxic torts and class action litigation, “Brownfields” redevelopment, environmental compliance counseling, pollution insurance coverage and alternative dispute resolution. 

Rhiana DornbosRhiana Dornbos, NTH Consultants




Rob Ferree, Geosyntec Consultants 

Lynn Fiedler, MDEQ Air Quality Division

Jason GeerJason Geer, Director of Energy & Environmental Policy, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, joined the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in January of 2011 as Small Business Advocate & Chamber Partnership Manager. In January of 2013, Jason was promoted to Director of Energy and Environmental Policy. Jason directs the Chamber’s Energy & Environment Committee and is responsible for working directly with the state legislature and state agencies to implement the Chamber’s legislative priorities.

Heidi GretherHeidi Grether, Director, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, was appointed to this role in June 2016 after a significant public and private sector career. She most recently served as Deputy Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. Grether previously spent nearly 20 years with Amoco and BP, including four years working the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to the oil industry, she was Legislative Director for the Michigan Speaker of the House, Policy Advisor to the Michigan Senate and Vice President of Environmental Affairs for the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

Tammy HelminiskiTammy Helminski, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg, is a member of the firm’s Environmental Law Department and co-chair of the Remediation, Corrective Action and Voluntary Cleanups Practice Group. She has experience with environmental due diligence and risk evaluation, project management of large-scale remediation sites involving numerous parties, assisting manufacturing and developer clients with environmental auditing and compliance and environmental litigation. She was also a pollution prevention coordinator at the NASA Ames Research Center and an environmental engineer at Ford Motor Company.

Don LawlessDon Lawless, Member, Barnes & Thornburg’s Labor and Employment Law Department has 25 years of experience working on behalf of employers to meet their labor and employment law objectives. His labor law practice includes contract negotiation, grievance arbitration, and defense of unfair labor practice charges. He works with clients on USDOL Wage and Hour Division audits, OFCCP compliance and audits, Occupational Safety and Health, and facility and program access under Titles II and III of the ADA.

Matthew Naud
, City of Ann Arbor

Matt SchroederMatthew Schroeder, Senior Environmental Engineer, The Dragun Corporation, has over 20 years of experience in environmental remediation and compliance for industrial, municipal, and commercial clients. He has managed projects in over thirty states and provinces in the United States and Canada. He is a registered professional engineer in six states.



Annette Switzer, MDEQ Air Quality Division

Six (6) credits for the MI Chamber Basic or Advanced Environmental, Health & Safety Compliance Certification Program.

What Previous Attendees Have to Say:
“The Env. Issues Forum was excellent. Top notch presentations from high-level DEQ personnel was very informative and also very encouraging.”

“I really enjoyed the blend and variety of backgrounds of the speakers. Having speakers with legal, technical, or government backgrounds provided a balanced and very informative forum.”

“It is helpful to be able to network and also hear from experts and regulatory representatives. Helps us see each other as humans and also know that most all of us are trying to do the “right” things every time.”