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Samples taken from Lake Erie have shown traces of the toxic algae that led to the shutdown of the water system in Toledo and southeast Michigan last summer. But the algae has not appeared in what consumers drink.
That water does not pose a health risk, according to a post on the city of Toledo’s website.
“Microcystin has been detected in the intake crib 3 miles out on Lake Erie, but not in drinking water,” the post reads. “Our water is safe to drink.”
For the full article, see Jim Lynch, "Toxic Lake Erie algae spotted but drinking water safe", Detroit News, July 28, 2015.
The history of the zebra mussel invasion reads like the victory march of a conquering power: The United Kingdom fell in the 1820s. Sweden fell in the 1920s. Canada and the United States followed in the 1980s.
Over the past 200 years, the invasive pests have spread through Europe and North America virtually unchecked; disrupting native ecosystems, damaging harbors and power plants, clogging pipes, propellers, water intakes and clustering on anything in their path.
But invasive species experts are expressing cautious optimism these days over the potential to fight back with a new Michigan-made aquatic pesticide, which targets zebra mussels and their equally unwelcome cousin, the quagga mussel, with a high mortality rate while leaving other organisms alive and unharmed.
The product is called Zequanox, a biopesticide developed by Marrone Bio Innovations, a publicly traded California biotech firm that manufactures the mussel-killer in an 18,000-square-foot plant in Van Buren County.
For the full article, see Garret Ellison, "Michigan-made pesticide Zequanox adds muscle to war on zebra mussels", MLive, July 28, 2015.
The state says it stocked Michigan waterways with more than 20 million fish this spring.
The Department of Natural Resources says more than 325 tons of fish went into the water at 732 stocking sites.
Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager, says in a statement that it was "another outstanding spring stocking season that will bring significant benefits and fishing opportunities to Michigan." The number and type of fish stocked vary by hatchery.
Fish are reared anywhere from a month to 1½ years before they are released. Some of the Chinook salmon and steelhead from the hatcheries are transferred to net pens for the final few weeks before they are released to get them acclimated.
Details about stocking by each hatchery are posted on the state's website.
For the full article, see "Mich. stocked waterways with more than 20 million fish", Detroit Free Press, July 27, 2015.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fresh from a U.S. Supreme Court defeat at the hands of Michigan over air pollution rules, again finds itself in the legal cross-hairs — this time, one of the state’s local governments.
Marquette County’s Road Commission has filed a lawsuit against the federal agency for stopping plans for a new road through four Upper Peninsula townships. The road project has stalled indefinitely after the EPA declined to approve them over environmental concerns.
It’s an issue local officials find frustrating. Some see it as the latest example in the area’s long history of being told what to do by outsiders.
For the full article, see Jim Lynch, "Lawsuit keeps U.P. mine controversy alive", Detroit News, July 24, 2015.
Think about this: There may be no more important resource in America than the Great Lakes. They hold 84 percent of all the fresh water in North America, and are crucial for fishing, boating and transportation.
Nobody doubts that a major oil spill could be beyond devastating, perhaps the greatest environmental disaster in history. But every day, 540,000 barrels of oil and liquefied natural gas are pumped through a pipeline at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, between Michigan’s two peninsulas. That pipeline is four and a half miles long.
And it is old. It has been there since 1953. To put that in perspective, oil had already been pumping through that pipeline for eight years the day President Obama was born.
What’s more, we really have no idea what the condition is of the pipeline, known as Line 5. Enbridge Energy Partners, the Canadian-based firm that owns the pipeline, does inspect it, and says the pipeline is safe. But it won’t release their reports on its condition to the press or to the general public.
Even the State of Michigan was able to get only a small amount of data from Enbridge. Earlier this month, a Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force released a giant report on pipeline safety that complained about this.
“While Enbridge has listed the numbers and types of pipeline inspections that it or its contractors have performed, it has not fully disclosed the actual results of most of the inspections or the limitations of the test methods used.”
That, the report noted, makes it hard to assess the company’s claim that everything is just fine. And given Enbridge’s track record, there is ample reason to worry.
Exactly five years ago on July 25, 2010, another Enbridge pipeline in the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, MI ruptured, sending more than a million gallons of heavy crude oil into the water. The company was slow to respond, and for a time, thinking there was an obstruction in the pipe, actually increased the pressure, sending even more crude into the river.
The result was a disaster that took four years and cost more than $1 billion to clean up. A 35-mile-section of the river was closed to recreational activities for two years.
Even now, there are still environmental issues replaced to the spill. Deborah Hersman, who at the time was chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, was harshly critical of Enbridge’s “Keystone Kops” handling of the disaster.
For the full article, see Jack Lessenberry, "Catastrophic Consequences", Dome, July 24, 2015.
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