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Environment & Science

man vaping
Fotofabrika / Adobe Stock

Doctors at a Detroit hospital have performed a double lung transplant on a man whose lungs were damaged from vaping.

No other details of the transplant were released Monday by Henry Ford Health System, which has scheduled a news conference Tuesday. The patient has asked his medical team to share photographs and an update to warn others about vaping.

U.S. EPA

Gary Sayers, the owner of a Madison Heights electroplating company, has been sentenced to a year in prison. 

That's after he violated hazardous waste storage laws for more than two decades.

Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Former Governor Rick Snyder stirred controversy when he appointed business and industry representatives to the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC), a regulatory oversight board to oversee rulemaking within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

 

Now, that board is slowing down the advancement of new drinking water standards that limit acceptable levels of chemicals from the PFAS family in Michigan’s drinking water.

A cyanobacterial bloom on Lake Erie in 2013.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Researchers say the harmful cyanobacteria bloom on Lake Erie this past summer was the fifth largest since they began ranking them going back to 2002.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the bloom covered about 700 square miles by the end of August.

woman walking on beach
soupstock / Adobe Stock

High Great Lakes water levels are threatening some homes and other structures. On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced a new plan to aid Michigan shoreline property owners affected by land erosion by those high lake levels.

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.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

When you call the city of Melvindale’s Department of Water and Public Works these days, you’ll hear a message that goes like this:

“If you’re calling regarding recent lead sampling results for the city of Melvindale, please note that the water supply we are provided from Great Lakes Water [Authority] is safe. This applies to properties that have lead service lines going into their home.”

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A sea lamprey close up
T. Lawrence / Great Lakes Fishery Commisison

A number of destructive invasive species have invaded the Great Lakes in the past several decades. These non-native creatures can do significant damage to native ecosystems. Biologists work hard to control them, but it's an ongoing battle. 

Cory Brant of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has captured the story of one particularly prolific invasive species in his new book Great Lakes Sea Lamprey: The 70 Year War on a Biological Invader.

a portrait of Governor Stevens T Mason
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

 

Today on Stateside, one University of Michigan professor says we are in the midst of a "Re-Englightenment" when it comes to cultural attitudes about climate change. Plus, we talk to Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin about her work on a package of bills aimed at protecting U.S. elections from foriegn interference.

people holding climate change protest signs
Bob Blob / Unsplash

 

Science shows climate change is real and humans are contributing to the problem. So, how did something science-based cause such a cultural and political divide?

University of Michigan professor Andrew Hoffman has an answer to that question.

In September, he wrote an article called “Climate Change and Our Emerging Cultural Shift.” It addressed the unique backlash to climate change science among some religious communities.

wikipedia

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has launched a new initiative to guide the state's transformation to cleaner energy. It's called MI Power Grid. 

The Michigan Public Service Commission is in charge of the initiative. 

MPSC Chair Sally Talberg says part of MI Power Grid will be focused on energy customers, to help them benefit from the transition, and reduce their energy use and costs.

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.

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.

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