Michigan Energy & Environment

IPR brings you the stories and sounds of nature Up North. Hear about our changing natural world, and the challenges northern Michigan faces with a growing economy and a fragile ecosystem.

The state has finished testing all the public water systems in Michigan for PFAS chemicals. Of more than a thousand municipal systems, 119 are contaminated by PFAS. 

Wikimedia Commons

Amidst congressional negotiations on border security, lawmakers are trying to protect Great Lakes infrastructure projects that could be caught up in the debate.

Wikimedia Commons

Anglers across Michigan won’t be able to catch as many perch. Right now they can get 50 per day but this spring it will be 25.

Randy Claramunt with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says perch populations have been declining for decades.

"There’s a lot of pressure on them in specific areas," Claramunt says. "So this … recognizes the value that yellow perch are to anglers in Michigan."

Claramunt says anglers pushed for the change because it may increase perch numbers. The new limit takes effect on April 1.

A lot of people assume a healthy diet is also good for the environment. A recently published study lends some credence to that conventional wisdom.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to know if a law passed during last year’s lame duck session is constitutional, and she’s enlisted new Attorney General Dana Nessel to look into the matter.

Outgoing governor Rick Snyder signed a law before leaving office. It created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority. That authority will oversee a tunnel to house a new section of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. That pipeline carries oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac.

MARK BRUSH / MICHIGAN RADIO

Geno Allessandrini of the Michigan Laborers District Council was appointed to the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority on Wednesday, but resigned a day later for personal reasons.

The authority will oversee the construction and operation of a tunnel for a new oil pipeline in the straits.

 

Ari Adler, a spokesman for Governor Snyder, says the governor didn’t ask for the resignation.

 

"He did resign of his own free will, and he said that he was stepping aside for personal reasons," says Adler.

 

CREDIT SKEEZE/PIXABAY

Michigan’s deer hunting season has been pretty successful so far.

"Our harvest appears certainly up in the Upper Peninsula, and there are parts in the northern Lower and certainly southwest that appear up as well," says Chad Stewart, deer management specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Soon, you’ll start seeing your energy bills start to rise each month because of the cold weather. That’s never fun. But, you might be paying a lot more than necessary to heat your home. We decided to look into whether a new efficient furnace adds up to much in the way of energy savings.

Morgan Springer

 

The percentage of Americans who fish is in decline and that decline has had an impact on conservation projects, because hunting and fishing licenses help fund everything from habitat restoration to clean water programs.

Michigan PFAS Action Response Team

A low level of pollutants has been detected in the City of Gaylord's municipal drinking water. State environmental officials tested the municipal water for PFAS at three sites in the city. A small amount of the chemicals was detected at one site, but nothing was found at the other two sites.

Several Flint commmunity leaders said Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette has a record of ignoring the people of Flint.

They spoke at a press conference Wednesday organized by the Michigan Democratic Party.

According to Chris Martin, pastor of the Cathedral of Faith Church in Flint, Schuette ignored 15 complaints in 2015 from residents reporting bad water quality in Flint.

Martin said complaints about bad water and health problems had fallen on deaf ears in Flint. 

Northland College

If caretakers of the Great Lakes aren’t careful, thirsty people from all corners of the world could come calling for our abundant supply of fresh, clean water.

So warns Peter Annin’s book “The Great Lakes Water Wars," first published in 2006.

Today on Stateside, we hear from a Michigan soybean farmer on how President Trump's escalating trade war with China is projected to affect the state's agriculture producers. Plus, Stateside's education commentator Matinga Ragatz weighs in on the teacher shortage crisis facing Michigan schools. 

Today on Stateside, why a large diversion of Lake Michigan water approved by the state of Wisconsin in 2010 is drawing new scrutiny. Plus, ringing in the first weekend of fall with a Michigan version of a tropical cocktail.  

When Peter Annin, director of the Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College, was completing research for an updated version of his book The Great Lakes Water Wars, he discovered a detail about Great Lakes water diversions that had gone unnoticed for 8 years.

According to his findings, the state of Wisconsin never announced that in 2010, it approved the village of Pleasant Prairie's request to extract seven million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan, the largest water diversion in the state.

PFAS firefighting foams are still housed at fire stations across the state, according to the state fire marshal. PFAS are a family of chemical compounds that have been found at multiple sites across the state and have been linked to health problems including cancer.

Kevin Sehlmeyer is the State Fire Marshal. He said his office surveyed one thousand fire stations across the state to determine how many still have firefighting foams with PFAS in them.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

State officials will begin using drones to find water contamination. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will use drones to look for PFAS in Lake Margrethe near Grayling this week.

Elevated levels of PFAS were found at Camp Grayling on Lake Margrethe in 2017. PFAS compounds come from fire fighting foam among other things. They can cause cancer and reproductive problems. 

Two years ago, residents of Alden Village, a small subdivision directly east of Ford Motor Company's Livonia Transmission, got a letter from the automaker.

It was not good news.

Voices of the Boardman River: Tawny Hammond

Aug 29, 2018
Naina Rao

Two years ago, Tawny Hammond fulfilled a lifelong dream when she moved Up North and took over a kayak rental business on Boardman Lake. Even when she was a teenager, Hammond knew she would end up in Traverse City.

“it just felt home to me, I felt like I belonged here,” Hammond says.


Colin Shea

Saturdays are for selling fish. On this Saturday, Ed and Cindi John aim to earn a week's income in only five hours.

Cindi unfolds the tables while Ed drags big, blue coolers off their truck bed. They’re filled to the brim with fish – cisco, lake trout and lake trout patties.

“We come out rain or shine,” says Cindi. “If it’s pouring rain, we’ll be here.”

 

Morgan Springer

Lake whitefish are the most important commercial fish species in Michigan. But in the last decade, state biologists say fishers are harvesting about a third of what they used to get. 

The U.S. Coast Guard

Environmental groups say the U.S. Coast Guard is not ready for an oil spill in the Great Lakes.

 

The Coast Guard is required by law to have a plan for a spill.

 

However, Margareta Kearney, an attorney at the Environmental Law and Policy Center, says they don’t.

 

 

“There was testimony that clearly stated the Coast Guard is not at the ready to respond to an oil spill in the Great Lakes,” Kearney said.

 

 

Voices of the Boardman River: the Gibbs Family

Aug 22, 2018
Naina Rao

Old dams are being removed from the Boardman River. That’s because they are costly to maintain and harmful to the river’s wildlife.

But not everyone is excited about losing the dams. The Gibbs family has been here for generations and their ancestors helped build the dams.


U.S. Sen. Gary Peters will host a hearing Monday in Traverse City on oil spill and response efforts in the Great Lakes. The meeting will be centered around the controversial Line 5 pipeline in the straits of Mackinac.

Peters says oil spill preparedness - at both the state and federal levels - is poor.

“I don’t think they’re very prepared at all,” Peters says. “We have to do a better job of understanding how we clean up these accidents.”

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