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Environment & Science

FDA: Sampling finds PFAS in some food

Jun 4, 2019
Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Food and Drug Administration found substantial levels of a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds in some grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake, according to FDA researchers.

The FDA’s food-test results are likely to heighten complaints by states and public health groups that President Donald Trump’s administration is not acting fast enough or firmly enough to start regulating the manmade compounds.

DEQMIAIR.ORG

The Trump administration says it will allow sales of gasoline with 15% ethanol in it year-round, and it says that will give customers more choices at the pump.

Former administrations banned its sale during the summer, says David DeGennaro of the National Wildlife Federation.

"And that's because ethanol in gasoline actually increases the amount of smog relative to gasoline with no ethanol in it," says DeGennnaro.

solar panels
David Goehring / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gary McDowell, announced on Monday that land enrolled in the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program can be used for commercial solar arrays.

The policy change includes a provision to make sure the land is returned to a state that allows for agriculture production after the panels and other equipment are removed.

cbd oil
Tinnakorn / Adobe Stock

 

The Food and Drug Adminstration wants to collect more information about CBD, a non-toxicating extract of the cannabis plant. This comes as CBD-infused products such as candy, oils, drinks, and even dog food are already flooding the market. 

CBD is becoming popular for treating things such as chronic pain and other ailments -- despite confusion around its legal status.

cannabis leaves and three CBD oil
yavdat / Adobe Stock

 

Today on Stateside, the potential of the cannabis compound CBD as a treatment for people with chronic pain. Plus, a new study says the tax incentives states use to lure businesses might not be paying off. 

 

This week marks the fifth annual Leopold Festival, an event that takes place on the Les Cheneaux Islands in honor of Aldo Leopold, one of the founders of wildlife ecology and a dedicated conservationist.

 

A man with a long dark ponytail stands in a river holding a 3-pronged spear.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

For April in the Western Upper Peninsula, it’s a pretty warm day. The Little Carp River, surging with snowmelt, winds through a forest of hemlock trees.

Robert Rajacic is scrambling up and down riverbanks, expertly carrying a spear in his right hand. He’s hoping to use it on some rainbow trout.

Filling a sample bottle.
Virginia Tech

Michigan cities and towns with lead water pipes will have to start taking more and better drinking water samples this summer. About 650 municipal water systems are testing for lead in water beginning in June.

The changes are part of a larger effort to strengthen the lead in water standards after the Flint water crisis. Michigan now has the toughest standards in the country.

Read more: Ripple Effects of the Flint Water Crisis

windmill in field
cwwycoff1 / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Xcel Energy has reached a settlement with environmental groups that puts it a step further on its ambitious path to zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

Xcel Energy's Northern Michigan Power division provides electricity to 9,000 customers in Michigan. 

The utility also serves customers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.

Mark Stoering, President of Xcel Energy - Michigan and Wisconsin, says the utility proposes to fast-track the retirement of Xcel's remaining coal-burning power plants by 2030. 

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

In yet another sign that invasive Asian carp could be inching closer to Lake Michigan, researchers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have found environmental DNA of two species of carp in a lake that's just a few miles from Lake Michigan.

Environmental DNA comes from things like fish scales. It's an indicator that the fish could be present.

pipes inside generating station
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

In 2016, Michigan got an important new tool in the growing effort to limit global heating.

The state's new energy law requires regulated utilities, for the first time, to submit long-term strategic plans that include reducing carbon emissions.   

The plans are called Integrated Resource Plans, or IRPs.

Consumers Energy and DTE Energy have now submitted their first IRPs, and the plans show that Michigan's two biggest utilities differ on how aggressively to cut carbon emissions.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

user nico paix / Flickr

High water levels in Lake Erie have been flooding streets and houses in Ohio, and people who live near the lake are bracing for problems as water levels continue to rise.

Erie's water levels are expected to approach or break records this spring, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Rogue River
Trout Unlimited

The EPA has ordered a West Michigan shoe manufacturer to excavate part of the Rogue River.

Wolverine Worldwide used products containing chemicals, including PFAS, at its former tannery in Rockford, about 15 miles north of Grand Rapids.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named the former McLouth Steel site in Trenton to its Superfund National Priorities List.

That list is reserved for sites with the most serious or uncontrolled legacy contamination. The contamination on the southern end of the property is from steel-making processes and an acid pickling line operation, according to the EPA.

M SEAS

The city of Ann Arbor will ask its co-plaintiffs in a groundwater contamination lawsuit against Pall-Gelman if they should ask the U.S. EPA to add the site to the Superfund program.

The resolution was approved unanimously by Ann Arbor's city council.

Pall-Gelman is the company responsible for contaminating Ann Arbor's groundwater with a chemical called 1,4 dioxane. 

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

A company that runs electric lines beneath the Straits of Mackinac says a proposed tunnel could be dangerous.  

The proposed tunnel would house a replacement section of Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline.

But it could also be used to hold other utility lines, including electrical cables.

Tim Finco is with the American Transmission Company.

The Petoskey News-Review reported Finco wrote in a letter the company doesn't believe it's a good idea to install its high-voltage electric lines in close proximity to high pressure oil or gas lines.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Federal agencies are asking for the public’s input on a new action plan for the Great Lakes.

The third phase of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan sets new five year priorities and goals starting in 2020.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy indicates there are 1.4 million homes in Michigan that are not hooked up to a sewer system. Many use septic tank systems. But Molly Rippke, an aquatic biologist with the agency, says there’s a big problem. 

Mark Savage / Entergy Corporation

The Palisades nuclear power plant will shut down by the spring of 2022. The company that owns Palisades plans to sell it.

Located on the shore of Lake Michigan near South Haven, Palisades is the oldest of three operating nuclear power plants in the state.

Who would want to buy a nuclear plant that’s closing?

There’s opportunity for a company that can decommission a nuclear generating station faster and cheaper – more efficiently – than a utility company could.

DTE

The Michigan Public Service Commission says DTE Energy can raise residential electricity rates by nearly 9%, starting in May. That's roughly a $6 per month increase for most customers.

The rate increase will pay for infrastructure, including a new billion dollar natural gas plant, plus an increase in the utility's tree-trimming activities. DTE says tree limbs falling onto lines during storms are responsible for a majority of power outages.

But the commission has rejected DTE Energy's proposal to raise fees and slash credits for customers with solar panels.

PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State officials are warning Michiganders to completely avoid touching PFAS foam. Previously, they emphasized not ingesting it.

PFAS (poly and perfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of chemicals used in firefighting foam, water-proofing substances, and more. The chemicals have been found in 119 municipal water systems.

Adee Braun / Changing Gears

Detroit’s Marathon refinery says it’s environmentally responsible, and a good neighbor to its surrounding community.

But some of those neighbors aren’t buying it.

Plastic trash on beach
Adobe Stock

Plastic pollution is choking landfills, the oceans - even the air we breathe.

Current recycling programs for plastics are inadequate to deal with the growing problem, according to researchers who testified Tuesday before a U.S. House subcommittee, convened by Michigan Congresswoman Haley Stevens.

wolves
Ecological Studies of Wolves on Isle Royale: Annual report 2018-2019 / Used with permission

Moose populations are still going wild on Isle Royale, but wildlife managers hope moving some additional wolves in will help restore some balance.

Michigan Technological University’s latest annual winter study of the animals’ Isle Royale populations found there are now more than 2,000 moose there, in comparison to just 15 wolves, most of them recent transplants via human intervention.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Plans for an enhanced barrier to try to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes might have just taken a crucial step forward.

The plan would fortify the existing Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Ill. to attempt to block carp from getting to Lake Michigan.

The project just got a signoff from the Illinois governor to go into a pre-construction and design phase.

Molly Flanagan is with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. She says it’s a big project, but it’s an essential one to keep invasive Asian carp out of the lakes.

Part of the new line 6B pipeline in central Michigan.
Mark Brush ❤️ / Michigan Radio

A new report by an energy watchdog group says companies are betting over a trillion dollars in risky gas pipeline projects.

Global Energy Monitor says these projects are hugely expensive - so the payback is over decades. Climate scientists say we need to stop burning fossil fuels completely by 2050.

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo / Virginia Tech

After the Flint water crisis, the state’s environment department closed a bunch of loopholes in the sampling for lead in drinking water. That means cities are taking better samples, more frequently, and at the highest risk homes with lead service lines.

sandhill crane
Ray Hennessy / Adobe Stock

Two Michigan lawmakers are pushing for a hunting season for sandhill cranes.

On April 10, House Resolution 61 and Senate Resolution 30 were introduced by Rep. Jim Lower (R-Cedar Lake), and Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Ida). Lower introduced a similar resolution (HR 154) in 2017.

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

The Environmental Protection Agency has released draft recommendations for industrial chemicals known as PFAS.

The EPA says the guidance will inform final cleanup levels for groundwater used as drinking water.

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