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Environment & Science

Common loon is one of the climate endangered species in Michigan.
User: jackanapes / Flickr

More than 50 percent of Michigan’s birds could go extinct if nothing is done to combat climate change.

That's according to a report from the Audubon Society.

Two people pick vegetables from a set of tall plants
Adam Rayes / Michigan Radio

With all the news about climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the environmental challenges facing the world. Our Climate Crew series features people who are stepping up in their own communities to do something about it.

Kevin Randall stands in front of a river
Courtesy of Kevin Randall

With all the news about climate change, pollution and habitat destruction, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the environmental challenges facing the world. Our Climate Crew series features people who are stepping up in their own communities to do something about it. 

A fellow teacher tipped us off about Kevin Randall, who teaches biology at Grandville High School. We talked to him about what he’s been doing to make his school a little greener.

map of Line 5
Enbridge Energy

A tribe in Northern Wisconsin still wants Line 5 off their land, despite a $24 million offer from Enbridge.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa sued Enbridge Energy earlier this year, asking them to immediately shut down the portion of the Line 5 oil pipeline that runs through their reservation.

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. 

Adobe Stock

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on October 2 a person in Battle Creek who contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has died, bringing the total number of human fatalities to four.

On October 8, MDHHS announced that it has completed all aerial pesticide spraying, which covered more than 557,000 acres across 14 counties.

Michigan hemp farmers harvest first legal crops

Oct 8, 2019

Fall in Michigan means harvest time for farmers, and many Michiganders are already flocking to apple orchards and pumpkin patches to reap the benefits of that harvest. A very different group of farmers are celebrating their first harvest as well.

A male Kirtland's Warbler in a jack pine forest in Michigan, USA.
Joel Trick / USFWS

The Kirtland's warbler is being removed from the federal endangered species list after a successful battle to save it from extinction.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the yellow-bellied songbird has recovered but will continue to rely on habitat preservation measures for long-term survival.

sugar beet laying on the ground
ExQuisine / Adobe Stock

Salt helps to keep Michigan’s roads clear in the winter. But it also eats away at the pavement and pollutes the lakes and streams it washes into.

A bill that passed the state Senate calls for an experiment - swapping or at least supplementing road salt with sugar beet byproducts.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Michigan is experiencing its worst-ever outbreak of a sometimes deadly illness spread by mosquitoes. 

It's called Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE (Triple E) for short.   

Schools in West Michigan have been rescheduling a lot of outdoor sports these days to avoid dusk. That's when mosquitoes, possibly carrying EEE, are most active.

State of Michigan

For the third consecutive year, Flint water is testing below state and federal action levels for lead, according to data the state released on Wednesday.

In the first half of 2016, at the height of the city’s water crisis, Flint’s 90th percentile result for lead-in-water samples was 20 parts per billion.

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.

An emaciated deer stands near a fence.
Terry Kreeger / Wyoming Game and Fish Department/CWD Alliance

To help combat chronic wasting disease, Michigan is banning deer baiting and feeding across big parts of the state. It’s highly unpopular with some hunters and lawmakers.

But, banning bait will only slow CWD from spreading to new areas, and more aggressive approaches that might actually stop it could be just as unpopular.

three mexican gray wolf pups
Courtesy of the Binder Park Zoo

Tests confirm two Mexican gray wolf pups at southern Michigan zoo have died of a rare mosquito-borne virus as health officials work to curb the spread of the virus in people and animals.

Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek says results received this week confirm the pups that died in early September were killed by Eastern equine encephalitis, which is also known as Triple-E. The two wolves were part of a litter born June 14 to a breeding pair of wolves at the zoo. The one wolf pup who survived appears healthy and is being monitored along with her parents. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A lab error is being blamed for a positive test for chemical contamination with a chemical in the PFAS family in the River Raisin watershed.

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. 

Enbridge Energy

Enbridge Energy says it will begin to immediately install 54 additional steel supports along a section of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. That's after the company received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the work.

Mike Shriberg is with the National Wildlife Federation. He says it's a good idea to add the supports, but even so, the aging Line 5 needs to be shut down as soon as possible.

Consumers Energy

A newly introduced bill in the state House would allow people to buy shares in a solar array. The concept is called community solar. The bill was introduced by Representative Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton).

Each subscriber would pay a portion of the cost of constructing the solar array, and they would get a credit on their electric bill for the electricity produced.

Ed Rivet is with the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum. 

He says under the bill, 10 or more people or groups could support clean energy even if they can't install their own rooftop solar panels.

That could include renters and condo owners, businesses or places of worship.

A group of elementary school children hold signs at the Washtenaw County protest.
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

 

“Climate strikes” are being held around the world today, including here in Michigan. The youth-led movement aims to pressure corporations and governments to do more to reduce the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change.

"Do Not Eat" advisory for deer in Oscoda still in effect

Sep 20, 2019
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

With hunting season in Michigan beginning October 1, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are reminding hunters about the “Do Not Eat” advisory for deer taken within 5 miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township.

The advisory was originally issued in October of 2018, after venison was tested and found to have extremely high levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), the most common chemical in the PFAS family. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio


Andrei / Adobe Stock

The Home Depot announced Tuesday that it will stop buying from its suppliers any rugs and carpets that contain PFAS chemicals.

"Excluding PFAS from the carpets and rugs we sell is another example of our shared commitment to building a better future for our customers and the planet," Ron Jarvis, The Home Depot's vice president for environmental innovation, said in a written statement.

A solar farm developed by Cypress Creek Renewables
Cypress Creek Renewables

The Michigan Public Service Commission has given the green light to a case settlement between Consumers Energy and independent solar companies that could dramatically increase solar power in Michigan.

Michigan currently has about 167 megawatts of capacity from solar, which is not a whole lot.   Consumers Energy has agreed to buy 584 megawatts of additional solar from independent companies over the next four years.  

Noah Hyte is with Cypress Creek Renewables, one of the companies party to the agreement. He says there's enough sun in Michigan to make it worthwhile to build lots of solar here.

Sam Corden / Interlochen Public Radio

Last week, the Trump administration revealed it would be repealing the Clean Water Rule, also called the Waters of the United States Act. Now, activists in the Great Lakes region are worried about how these rollbacks will affect the Great Lakes.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michiganders have mixed reactions to the Trump administration rolling back a key Obama-era environmental regulation.

The administration says revoking an Obama-era rule on waters and wetlands would provide "much-needed regulatory certainty" for farmers, homebuilders, and landowners.

a picture of a smoky forest with charred trees
Unsplash

When you think about the modern environmentalist movement, you probably picture progressive supporters with liberal political views. 

But in a piece recently published in The Conversation, University of Michigan Professor Alexandra Minna Stern notes that more and more white nationalists are latching onto environmental concerns and calling themselves "eco-fascists.”

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.

water facuet flowing into title of documentary
Flint: The Poisoning of an American City press kit

Flint was once a city of prosperity and thriving industry. Its successes were touted as an example for other U.S. cities. An old promotional film celebrating Flint's achievements in business and public education, summed it up this way:

three books with an apple on top, a few crayons, and some ABC blocks sit on top of a wood desk
Unsplash

 


Today on Stateside, how "energy resilient" is Michigan? We talk to the chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission about a newly-released assessment of the state's energy infrastructure. Plus, the rise and fall of a 19th century Chrsitian utopian society in Michigan's Thumb region. 

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

A report from the National Wildlife Federation report is urging state governors and lawmakers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York to take steps to address the growing issue of PFAS in the Great Lakes. The report says state action is crucial, as it is unclear as to whether a “divided Congress and ambivalent White House” will do enough to confront the problem. 

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