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Snyder shakes up state energy agency

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There’s been a shakeup at the agency responsible for Michigan energy policy.

Sources inside and outside the Snyder administration say the departure of Valerie Brader makes the timing right for a re-organization.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed an executive order re-assigning staff to the state Public Service Commission. That’s the agency that regulates utilities in Michigan.

Nicholas Assendfelt is with the energy agency.

“It’s just a re-organization a little bit in terms of who’s under which umbrella, but the energy issues and missions are still our priority.”

He says the timing is based on the fact that energy agency Director Valerie Brader is leaving state government for the private sector.

“It was mainly her leaving. It kind of made sense to do it all at once, instead of having her leave and maybe coming back and taking a look at everything. So, we thought it was better if we made these changes all at one time.” 

James Clift is with the Michigan Environmental Council. He says the re-organization makes sense. 

“The agency did serve a purpose. For the past year, it has been doing a lot of work implementing Michigan’s new clean energy law. But that work is mostly completed, and now we’re getting into the stage where the commission will be making the decisions.”

The re-organization was prompted by Energy Agency Director Valerie Brader’s departure for a job in the private sector.

The governor also named Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creigh to replace Brader on the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board.

Snyder raised eyebrows last year when he made an agreement with Enbridge Energy on the future of Line Five without waiting for recommendations from the committee.