2017 Environmental Issues Forum

$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, 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
    Chris Peters & Laura Curtis, ARCADIS US, Inc.
  • 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:

Laura CurtisLaura Curtis, Senior Regulatory Specialist, ARCADIS, has over 30 years of experience in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulatory activities, regulatory strategy, compliance, and project and risk management. She is a subject matter expert in solid/hazardous waste compliance, waste characterization, waste reduction and pollution prevention; beneficial reuse, Spill Prevention Countermeasures & Contingency Plans and requirements; Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans and NPDES discharge permits, underground/above ground storage tank rules and registrations and permitting. 

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, Project Engineer, NTH Consultants, manages a team of scientists and engineers for Clean Air Act permitting and compliance as part of NTH’s Air Quality Group. Through numerous industrial, power generation, and energy resource projects, her environmental permitting experience extends to major and minor source air quality permit applications, permit condition negotiation, control technology reviews, regulatory compliance, and ambient impact demonstrations. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the West Michigan Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association.

Rob FerreeRob Ferree, Principal Geologist, Geosyntec Consultants, Robert Ferree is a Senior Principal Geologist based in Michigan with more than 30 years of experience focused on hydrogeologic investigations; remedial investigations; underground storage tank (UST) removal; soil and groundwater sampling plan preparation in accordance with RCRA and CERCLA guidance; surface and down-hole geophysical methods; remediation system design; remedial system installation; slug test and aquifer test performance and analysis; and environmental site assessments (ESAs).

Lynn FiedlerLynn Fiedler, Division Director, MDEQ Air Quality Division, started as a Permit Engineer with the Air Quality Division and has spent most of her career in the Permit Section as both a Unit Supervisor and the Section Supervisor. Lynn has worked on permitting some of the most interesting and controversial sources in the state.  


Jason GeerJason Geer, Director of Energy & Environmental Policy, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, joined the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in 2011 as Small Business Advocate & Chamber Partnership Manager. In 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.

Margrethe KearneyMargrethe Kearney, Senior Staff Attorney, Senior Staff Attorney, Environmental Law & Policy Center, was previously a Counsel at the Latham & Watkins firm in the Environment, Land & Resources Department, focusing on environmental enforcement, environmental litigation and advising on environmental aspects of corporate and finance transactions. She represented clients on cases involving the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA and valuation of environmental claims in bankruptcy proceedings. Before law school, she worked as an associate research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

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 NaudMatthew Naud, Environmental Coordinator, City of Ann Arbor for the past 16 years. Mr. Naud sits on the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, participated on the MDEQ Criteria Stakeholder Advisory Workgroup, and the MDEQ Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel. Mr. Naud is a member of the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network – a peer-to-peer learning network of 160 sustainability directors across the US and Canada. Prior to his work at the city, Mr. Naud spent 11 years consulting to USEPA and other state and federal agencies on emergency management and air quality programs.

Chris PetersChris Peters, Vice President, ARCADIS US, Inc., has 34 years of environmental engineering and management experience, including regulatory experience. His areas of expertise include state-led (Part 201) and RCRA remedial investigations, hydrogeologic investigations, solid waste management and permitting, surface water management and permitting, beneficial reuse of waste materials, expert testimony, and regulatory liaison services. He has specific expertise in the cement, gypsum, and pulp and paper industries. He is an AIPG Certified Professional Geologist and Professional Geologist in Wisconsin.

Matt SchroederMatt 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 SwitzerAnnette Switzer, Permit Section Manager, MDEQ Air Quality Division. Annette oversees the Permit Section which includes the Thermal/Chemical Process Unit and the General Manufacturing/Chemical Process Unit. Prior to becoming the Permit Section Manager in March of 2016, Annette was a Permit Engineer in the Thermal/Chemical Process Unit.



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.”