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
State officials are announcing Wednesday a $75 million settlement with Enbridge Energy to finalize cleanup terms with the Canadian pipeline owner responsible for 2010's massive Kalamazoo River oil spill.
The agreement comes five years after an underground pipeline near Marshall ruptured, releasing more than 800,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into a nearby creek and, eventually, the river. It was the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history, which has some environmental groups questioning if the settlement goes far enough.
Talmadge Creek, photographed last Thursday, five years after the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. Some environmental groups question whether the settlement goes far enough. (Photo: Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)
The settlement package — which ends any further legal action against Enbridge for the 2010 spill — includes $40 million in already-completed projects and $35 million in work yet to be done:
A condition of the agreement ensures all of the money will be earmarked for restoration and improvement of the affected watershed. The money cannot be diverted to unrelated areas of the state budget.
"This settlement will help to restore affected waterways and wetlands, as well as provide improved access for families to enjoy the beauty of the Kalamazoo River," Bill Schuette, Michigan's attorney general, said in a statement.
Enbridge officials estimate the spill will eventually cost the firm $1.2 billion. The figure includes the state settlement as well as projected potential penalties from federal regulators.
It's unclear how much the Alberta-based company itself will wind up paying. When the incident occurred, Enbridge was insured for $650 million. A current claim totaling $103 million is still outstanding. If it is approved, Enbridge will have reached its $650 million cap and will be responsible for all payments beyond that figure.
For the full article, see Jim Lynch, "Enbridge settles cleanup of Michigan oil spill for $75M", Detroit News, May 13, 2015.
Plastic paradise : the great Pacific garbage patch / written & directed by Angela Sun ; producer, Tanya Leal Soto ; executive producer, Angela Sun ; a Plastic Paradise, LLC production ; Sunshine Films presents a film by Angela Sun. [United States] : Plastic Paradise LLC.,  1 DVD videodisc (57 min.) : sound, color ; [Oley, Pennsylvania] : [distributed by Bullfrog Films], 4 3/4 in. MSU Library Kline Digital and Multimedia Library (4 West) TD427.P62 P53 2014 VideoDVD
Even when plastic is recycled, it never really goes away. Filmmaker Angela Sun travels to remote Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, where ocean currents pull in plastics from three continents. Most of the plastic floats below the surface, but Sun, aboard a research vessel and underwater in diving gear, films fishnets snagged on coral reefs and floating plastic bottles, among other plastic debris. Interweaving scenes of dead birds with stomachs filled with plastic pieces and sand consisting mainly of synthetic particles is vintage footage of promotional pieces touting revolutionary plastic. Interviewed biologists, naturalists, and activists discuss the food chain and warn that ingested chemicals from plastics are dangerous to our health. Sun attempts to interview representatives from the plastic industry, with limited success. Scientists urge viewers to cut down on use of plastic bags and bottles in this film, which raises environmental awareness about our overuse of plastic. Trailer
Groundswell rising : protecting our children's air & water / ResolutionPictures presents a film by Renard Cohen; associate producer, Dave Walczak; executive producers, Matt Cohen & Mark Lichty. Oley, Pa : Bullfrog Films, 2014. 1 DVD videodisc (122 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. MSU Library Kline Digital and Multimedia Center (4 West) QH545 .G768 2014 VideoDVD
Fracking, according to this inspiring program, is the “moral issue of our times.” Fracking of natural-gas mines not only destroys landscapes but also causes serious health problems. When pleas to the government go unanswered, members of grassroots organizations begin fighting back, as reported here. Protests in Colorado pushed the state government to ban fracking, and grassroots efforts in other locales helped foster bans, moratoriums, and legislations. Interviewed ecologists and activists show proof that fracking is related to water contamination, and a former mining worker talks about pollution in the workplace. In town meetings, residents refute oil and gas industry promises of more jobs and higher living standards and provide evidence of illnesses caused by air and water pollutants. Local activists speak out in rallies across the country. This encouraging and inspiring program reminds viewers that committed individuals can make a difference. Includes option for a 52-minute version. Trailer. Image.
Canadian panel endorses plan for nuclear waste facility near Lake Huron
May 7, 2015
Communities use "green infrastructure" to adapt to climate change
May 7, 2015
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana join forces to fight cyanobacteria
May 5, 2015
Smartphone app turns you into a citizen scientist in the fight against invasive species
May 5, 2015
We're closer to a decision on the underground nuclear waste site near Lake Huron
May 5, 2015
State cracking down on manure pollution
May 4, 2015
Clean Power Plan would benefit Michigan more than many states
May 4, 2015
Michigan could generate 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 without blanketing the state with windmills and solar panels, and should be done to give Michiganders a lower-cost, low-risk electric source, an analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) told a House panel today.
A 30 percent-by-2030 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is beyond the 20 percent-by-2022 being called for by Democrats as the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder look to rework the state's 2008 energy law that set Michigan's first RPS at 10 percent by 2015.
In a report 18 months ago, the Snyder administration noted the 30 percent number could be reached from a "technical perspective" and wants the state to be using anywhere between 30 and 40 percent of renewable energy by 2025, but he has not been supportive on traditional hard RPS mandates.
Michigan's utilities have met the current 10-percent goal, but are basically on the same page as House Energy Policy Committee Chair Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) on the subject. They'd like to the see the RPS scrapped in favor of policy that gives power companies the flexibility to work renewables and energy efficiency programs into their long-term planning -- an integrated resource plan (IRP) overseen by state regulators.
But UCS Midwest analyst Sam Gomberg echoed the concerns of many other environmentalists today during the House Energy Policy Committee hearing on RPS that utilities won't be as aggressive in pursuing renewable energy under an IRP-only system unless state goals are set.
"While the proposed IRP process can be a great compliment to an RES, it will not be as effective at driving investments in Michigan's renewable energy resources or ensuring Michigan consumers realize a truly diverse, cleaner, lower-risk and more sustainable energy future," Gomberg said.
To hit 30 percent of Michigan's energy demand with wind turbines alone, five percent of Michigan's farmland would need to host a wind farm, leaving 98 percent of the land on those farms still available for farming, he said. On solar, Michigan could meet 25 percent of its energy demand with solar panels on rooftops and solar farms on brownfields, he said.
For the full article, see "Environmental Scientists Push For 30% RPS For Michigan", Inside MIRS Today, May 7, 2015.
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