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environment

Protesters standing with signs
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

More than 150 protesters gathered in downtown Grand Rapids as part of a national climate strike Friday.

They want Senator Gary Peters and other Democrats to commit to the Green New Deal.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A half-century ago, within the span of two years, three of America’s rivers caught fire. One of them was in Michigan. Those fires ignited the environmental movement. 

On this date, October 9th, 50 years ago, the Rouge River caught fire. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

You can hear a flock of geese calling, but there’s not a single goose. It’s a bunch of humans, warming up for the goose call contest at the 72nd annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival held last weekend.

white woman smiling in front of foliage
Courtesy of Logan Vear

 


The constant barrage of news about climate change, drinking water contamination, and pollution in the Great Lakes region can feel overwhelming. If you care, it’s hard to know what to do or where to start.

That's where Stateside's new series comes in. We're featuring ordinary people who identified a problem – no matter how big or small – and chose to act. 

Trump administration to revoke water protection rule

Sep 12, 2019
northern michigan wetlands
ehrlif / Adobe Stock

The Trump administration plans to revoke an Obama-era regulation that provided federal protection to many U.S. wetlands and streams.

Two Environmental Protection Agency officials with knowledge of the plan told The Associated Press the administration plans to substitute the rule with its own version.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a more than half a million dollar settlement for cleanup of a site in Benton Harbor. The EPA finished the cleanup of the Alreco Metals site in 2015. The site had hazardous waste from the demolition of buildings and equipment.

The EPA says the Alreco Metals site in Benton Harbor was in operation for 43 years before the owner filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The EPA negotiated a settlement with Service Aluminum Corp., Toyota Motor Engineering and Louis Padnos Iron and Metal (PADNOS). Now the agency is asking for public input.

dog inspecting old balloon laying on a beach
COURTESY OF LARA O'BRIEN

Balloons are a part of many American traditions: birthdays, graduations, retirements, weddings. It’s easy to forget these balloons once they float away, but what goes up, must come down. And pieces of balloon waste are coming down all around the Great Lakes.

Half a century ago, hundreds of pairs of piping plovers lived in the Great Lakes. But by the 1980s, they were on the verge of extinction and only a dozen pairs remained.

Over time, wildlife biologists have helped increase the population. But it’s still well below a stable number and each year there’s a new threat.

 

Mike Russell / creative commons

Michigan lawmakers introduced new bills designed to make polluters pay. It requires that the polluter clean up the pollutant as much as technically possible.

Democrats Senator Jeff Irwin and Representative Yousef Rabhi introduced identical bills in the House and Senate Thursday. Irwin says there was a polluter-pay law, but the Engler administration changed them in 1995.

sugar in measuring spoon
Flickr

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has settled a lawsuit against Bay City’s Michigan Sugar Company.

The MDEQ filed a lawsuit against Michigan Sugar Company in August of 2017. The lawsuit claimed the company’s sugar beet processing plant violated air and water quality regulations.

damaged road and car
Vicky Ingram

On Black Friday, the federal government released its National Climate Assessment.

Compiled by 13 federal agencies, the landmark report spells out the consequences we’re already seeing — and that we’ll continue to see worsen over time — as a result of climate change. 

Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

Today, we speak to MLive reporter Paula Gardner, co-author of an investigative report that found PFAS chemicals are still being released in large quantities by businesses across the state. Plus, a new bill proposed in the state Senate would remove protections from some Michigan wetlands on private property. Opponents say it would have devastating effects, but supporters say it's protecting property owners from government overreach.  

Wetland in Kalamazoo
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

 


A bill sponsored by State Senator Tom Casperson would remove protections from some Michigan’s wetlands, inland lakes, and streams. In a recent letter, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Trout Unlimited, and the National Wildlife Federation outlined their opposition to the proposed legislation.

Stateside's Lester Graham talked to a business leader who supports the bill, as well as an enviornmentalist who opposes it. 

Michigan Radio will make changes to its environmental coverage beginning in October. 

The Environment Report, which has explored the relationship between the natural world and the everyday lives of people in Michigan for nearly twenty years, will no longer air at fixed times on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The elk is an important Michigan symbol. It’s even on our state flag. But have you ever seen an elk in the wild in Michigan?  Did you even know there are elk in Michigan?

A meteoroid flew over I-75 Northbound in metro Detroit Tuesday night.
Mike Austin / YouTube

 


In January, there were sightings of a fireball in the sky over Southeast Michigan.

The following day, the United States Geological Survey confirmed it was a meteoroid which had exploded in the atmosphere.

At the time, the loud "boom" it caused was reported to register at 2.0 on the Richter scale, but for the USGS and NASA, it didn't seem like that big of a deal.

Firefly or lightning bug on a flower
Radim Schreiber

Does it feel like you've seen a burst of fireflies this summer? You probably have!

This year will go down as a "firefly boom," not just here in Michigan, but across the country. 

JIM D / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In 2015, the Grand Traverse Land Conservancy began a quiet campaign to protect natural lands from development in northern Michigan. Since the launch, $53 million has been raised, and 19 areas spanning five counties have been identified as in need of urgent protection.

The Land Conservancy has named it “The Campaign for Generations,” and opened the campaign to the public on August 11 to raise more money for the campaign.

green liquid in petri dish
Danny Ducat

Look around you. Chances are – wherever you are – you can see something that’s plastic.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

New tariffs are putting some Michigan newspapers and printers at risk of going out of business.

There’s more than a little irony in the fact that a state which built paper mills all over, no longer makes the kind of paper that newspapers use.

quagga mussels in lake michigan
Greg Marks / NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Beaches along Lake Michigan are closed when E. coli bacteria gets too high. But a nasty critter found on the bottom of the lake might help keep the beaches open.

Still from Casperson campaign video.

New laws signed by Governor Rick Snyder last Friday set up commissions to oversee the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Environmentalists say those commissions will be stacked with business and industry people and give them more influence in the environmental rulemaking process.

field with tubs filled with green liquid
Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography

For years, scientists have been developing ways to put algae in your gas tank. It works, but we're still a long way from buying algal biofuel at the pump. 

Researchers at the University of Michigan have been experimenting with methods that could improve the fuel's long-term prospects.

a bumbleebee on a pink flower
Jice 75 / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Bees might be small, but they play an outsize role in food production. In fact, one of every three bites of food we eat is made possible by bees.

While a lot of attention on the shrinking bee population focuses on honeybees, they aren't the only pollinators in our state. Michigan is also home to hundreds of native bee species that play an equally important role in our environment and economy. 

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

A Canadian company will turn in a report tomorrow outlining whether it thinks a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac is a feasible option for its pipeline. A tunnel was suggested by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Field of corn
Flickr/Vampire Bear

 


Globally, climate change is going to cause serious upheaval. But the kinds of changes will vary from place to place. That means there are likely to be both winners and losers in a changing climate.  

As science refines its predictions about the impact of climate change, it's getting easier to see who will end up in each column. 

Bruno Basso is a Michigan State University Foundation Professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department. He spoke with Stateside about his new study on climate change and crop growth in the Midwest.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Eleven years ago on a cold January day, volunteers for the Huron River Watershed Council, Rochelle Breitenbach and Mary Bajcz trudged through the snow and thicket to get to a pristine little stream that flows into the Huron River.

A picture of Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett outside of her home in Flint in 2015
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

 


 

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for grassroots environmental activism.

Ian Geoffrey Stimpson / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg


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

Trump should not ignore the Great Lakes

Feb 13, 2018
satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

There are a lot of baffling things about President Trump, but perhaps the most baffling is this: Usually, when you win a close election, you do everything you can to hang on to those voters who gave you victory.

Trump won the last election by a tiny margin, and he won it in the Great Lakes states, flipping Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio.

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