News about environmental studies resources or events provided by the MSU Libraries. For more information visit the Environmental Studies Resources web page or contact Jon Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anti-fracking petition drive to launch this weekend
May 22, 2015
How to help monarch butterflies (without poisoning them)
May 21, 2015
What's driving the drop in monarch butterfly numbers?
May 19, 2015
EPA proposes plan to dig more PCBs out of Kalamazoo River for $20 million
May 19, 2015
Natural gas set to play major role in Michigan's energy mix
By Associated Press
May 16, 2015
Protections put in place about a decade ago to prevent large-scale diversion of Great Lakes water have been successful. However, the Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces must remain vigilant and utilize emerging technologies and scientific advances to maintain the positive momentum of the past decade, according to the consultants reviewing the measures.
The protections were installed following a Canadian entrepreneur's plan to export Lake Superior water via tanker ships to Asia in 1998. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment approved that plan before public outcry scuttled it.
The Canadian and U.S. governments asked the International Joint Commission — which oversees Great Lakes water issues — to examine how to protect the lakes from large-scale diversions, and the agency issued recommendations in a 2000 report. The governments required the IJC to review progress after three years and every 10 years thereafter. This year marks the first of the 10-year reviews.
The public can read the 10-year review and comment on it at the IJC's website.
For the full article, see Keith Matheny, "Report: Great Lakes better protected than 10 years ago", Detroit Free Press, May 19, 2015.
At least 41 states are in talks with neighbors about how they might cut power-sector carbon emissions under U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, despite appeals from Republicans in Congress for state officials to refuse to comply, according to regional coordinators.
Fifteen states are bringing court challenges to the rule, and based on comments from GOP governors and attorneys general, it appears that number could grow closer to two dozen once EPA finalizes the regulation this summer.
But while those high-level politicians threaten to fight the standards or follow advice from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and "just say no," air and electric regulators are still considering their options and discussing how they can coordinate with other states.
"Our experience from states that are going to make a legal challenge, they have said nothing publicly, but still behind the scenes they're saying, 'OK, what are our options?'" said Doug Scott, former chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission and vice president of the Great Plains Institute. GPI is organizing Clean Power Plan talks in the Midwest and tallied up the 41 states involved in discussions around the country.
Seven states involved with GPI's Midwestern Power Sector Collaborative have asked EPA to set up a voluntary carbon credit trading system so states or generators that fall short of their goals can purchase allowances from states that exceed them.
Regulators from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Michigan signed on to that letter to EPA last month, with high-ranking officials in Missouri, Kentucky and Wisconsin participating as observers. That group also involves electric utilities and environmental advocates. Also in the Midwest, the Midcontinent States Environmental and Energy Regulators has held talks.
In Denver last week, representatives from 13 Western states met in private sessions convened by former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter's Center for the New Energy Economy. CNEE has held about half a dozen such meetings since June, involving North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and states to the West, said Jeff Lyng, a senior policy adviser for the group. EPA officials from headquarters and three regional offices have been involved.
For the full article, see Emily Holden, "Despite political rhetoric, 41 states exploring Clean Power Plan options", ClimateWire, May 18, 2015.
When Rolf Peterson landed on Isle Royale this year for the annual tracking of gray wolves, he flew over the remote island in Lake Superior for hours, day after day — but saw none.
Fifteen days passed before Peterson and his research crew spotted three resident wolves on the island, Michigan's only national park. They were the only three spotted this season — down from nine wolves the previous season, and the fewest in a 57-year study.
It was the gravest sign yet that the longest, continuous predator-prey study in the world could be coming to an end — or perhaps moving in a new direction. The wolves, which have survived by preying on Isle Royale moose, have offered scientists at Michigan Technological University an unprecedented opportunity to study a predator-prey system on an isolated island for more than half a century.
The National Park Service likely will determine the future of the Michigan Tech study, which has captivated the public, garnered the attention of scientists around the world and put the Upper Peninsula school on the map.
At least one of the researchers says it's already too late.
For the full article, see Kim Kozlowski, "Isle Royale study could soon be gone with the wolves", The Detroit News, May 17, 2015.
Over the years, overfishing and the loss of spawning habitat has threatened the survival of the sturgeon species, which is rare throughout North America. Their numbers have been in decline due to several factors, including poaching for their valuable roe, or mass of eggs, which is harvested and sold as caviar.
Researchers predicted the fish would be extinct within 50 years.
Protecting the fish, improving its habitat and working to ensure the continuation of the species has been the goal of the Black Lake chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow since 1999.
The group brings in hundreds of volunteer guardians, who, with the help of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, watch several miles of prime Black River spawning sites to prevent poachers from taking the fish from the shallow waters. Last year, 400 volunteers donated close to 4,000 hours over the two-month spawning period, from mid-April to mid-June.
For the full article, see John L. Russell, "Volunteers on mission to save prehistoric fish", Detroit News, May 16, 2015.
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