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Great Lakes News Collaborative

The Great Lakes region is frequently touted as one of the most climate-resilient places in the U.S., in no small part because of its enviable water resources. But climate change also threatens water quality, availability, and aging water infrastructure by exposing existing vulnerabilities and creating new ones. In this series, members of the Great Lakes News Collaborative explore what it may take to prepare the Great Lakes region for the future climatologists say we can expect.

Funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the collaborative’s four nonprofit newsrooms — Bridge Michigan, Circle of Blue, Great Lakes Now at DPTV and Michigan Radio — aims to elevate discussion, amplify the voice of Michigan residents and produce action that protects the region’s waters for future generations. While Mott provides financial support, our public service journalism is produced independently.

This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Michigan cities must begin replacing lead pipes. But who has the cash?

Jan 15, 2021
Courtesy of the City of Jackson

It’s the first month of a 20-year effort to replace every lead service line connecting a Michigan home to a public water supply. Already, Jeff Lampi is predicting his city won’t meet the deadline.

“I requested an additional 10 years, so that we don’t hit the ratepayers as hard as what they’re telling us to,” said Lampi. 

Flint residents unimpressed by Snyder charges linked to lead exposure

Jan 14, 2021

As volunteers loaded her trunk with cases of bottled water Thursday at the RL Jones Community Outreach Center, a weekly ritual that involves waiting for hours in a line of cars that snakes far down the highway, Paula Stephenson simmered with anger.

Days after Flint residents learned that former Gov. Rick Snyder and other officials would face criminal charges for their role in the water crisis that poisoned Flint residents, news emerged that Snyder would face two misdemeanors for, in Stephenson’s words, “destroying us.” 

Years After Flint Water Crisis, Lead Lingers in School Buildings

Jan 13, 2021
Photo: 2016 Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue

 

In its 2021 budget, Congress included millions for lead testing in schools, where children are still exposed to the toxic metal.

Michigan Allocates $20 Million to relieve customer water debts

Oct 19, 2020
© J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue

Michigan residents who are behind on their water bills will soon be getting some relief.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will distribute more than $20 million to 116 water utilities, through an intermediary, to cover water bill debt that their customers accrued since March 1 when the pandemic emergency began.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Energy has been eager to show news media its new Enbridge Straits Maritime Operations Center in Mackinaw City. Its purpose is to try to prevent another anchor strike or other damage to Line 5, the dual pipelines carrying oil and natural gas liquids.

One Michigan county tells the story of a nation plagued by water pollution

Sep 24, 2020
J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue

Farms housing thousands of animals are one of several sources contaminating the Pine River and dividing a mid-Michigan community.

Murray Borrello, wearing khakis and a loose-fitting brown button-up, walked down a backroad during the summer of 2019 listening to the sounds of the woods. Water from the Pine River flowed slowly beneath him as he looked out over a bridge.

“Oh, I hear a frog,” the Alma College geology and environmental studies professor said. “That’s a good sign.” 

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