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Environment & Climate Change

With DEQ considering potash mine proposal, a geologist responds to environmental concerns

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Ian Geoffrey Stimpson
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The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is now considering a proposal that could put Michigan in the forefront of potash mining. 

It turns out there's a treasure trove of potash sitting beneath our state, and extracting it could pump as much as $65 billion into Michigan's economy. 

 

Potash is a naturally occurring mineral that’s high in potassium. It’s used for making fertilizer.

 

But there are serious concerns that mining it could endanger the surrounding environment and groundwater — the same groundwater that Nestle taps for its Ice Mountain bottled water. 

 

Bill Harrison, director of the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education at Western Michigan University, joined Stateside to tell us more about these potash deposits and what's happening with them. 

 

Listen above to hear what exactly potash is, why it's so valuable, and why Michigan is the place to find it. Harrison also responds to environmental concerns about the mining process, including the amount of water being used and any risks that might come from the extraction. 

 

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