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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.
TIMELINE: 15 moments to note since the biggest inland oil spill in U.S. history
Michigan Radio Newsroom
July 25, 2015
'Nuisance' bears proving to be a nuisance in Michigan this year
July 24, 2015
How are people feeling 5 years after the nation's worst inland oil spill?
July 24, 2015
Life 5 years after the nation's worst inland oil spill
July 23, 2015
DNR calls for public comments on Lake Michigan island plan
July 21, 2015
Evidence doesn't support the rumored Enbridge dump of harmful surfactant
July 21, 2015
When we look at where all of the tornadoes have traveled in Michigan, there appears to be three main "tornado alleys."
The maps show all of the recorded tornadoes in Michigan since 1950, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
For the full article, see Mark Torregrossa, "Michigan's tornado alleys: Do you live in one?", Mlive, July 23, 2015.
What do you do when young birds important to Michigan’s emerging osprey population need to be tagged but are way up in the sky?
You climb to them and fit them with GPS devices.
Four osprey chicks from nesting areas in southern Michigan were recently outfitted with “backpacks,” telemetry units that will help the state’s Department of Natural Resources track the emerging population.
The backpacks, which use GPS and other tracking systems, will help scientists follow the young birds’ daily movements and seasonal migration patterns.
Since 1998, the DNR began relocating ospreys to southern Michigan, supported by donations to the state’s Nongame Wildlife Fund. In 2013, the DNR and volunteers identified at least 56 active nests, up from a single active nest in 2002.
The recently banded birds were hatched in nests on towers at Kensington Metropark in Milford and Sterling State Park in Monroe. Climbing the man-made towers were crews from Clearlink Wireless Solutions, Skyline Services LLC, Newkirk-Electric and Earthcom Inc., who had to reach the chicks to band them and deploy transmitters.
For the full article, see "Michigan osprey chicks fly with ‘backpacks’", Detroit News, July 23, 2015.
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