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 email@example.com
magine an oil slick quickly growing through the Straits of Mackinac from a rupture of the 62-year-old, twin pipelines known as Line 5 traversing the bottom of where Lakes Michigan and Huron connect.
Now imagine oil spill response boats from the pipeline operator and U.S. Coast Guard moored at the docks, taking no action for hours, or even a day or more as the slick mixes and spreads in the often turbulent waves.
That scenario is a real possibility if a Line 5 spill were to occur in bad weather, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the pipeline owner's contracted spill responder.
Under high wave conditions, crucial offshore spill containment response might have to be put off for hours, or even days because of unsafe boating conditions, the responders say. That would delay the deployment of spill-containing boom, or the use of skimmers to remove oil from the water's surface. And that would allow the ecological calamity to spread.
For the full article, see Keith Matheny, "Oil spill, high waves: A Great Lakes disaster scenario", Detroit Free Press, December 6, 2015.
Michigan’s solar future is so bright that advocates say you might have to wear shades.
Assuming all goes as planned, Michigan may soon see a solar project nearly 50 times larger than its largest existing installation.
The state’s biggest solar project now operating is a 1.1 megawatt generator owned by DTE Energy in Ann Arbor, said John Sarver, president of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.
“But there are much bigger projects planned, including 10 megawatts at Michigan State University and 20 megawatts with the Lansing Board of Water & Light,” Sarver said.
DTE is constructing a 1.9-megawatt solar array that will be the largest in the state when it comes on line at the end of the year, said DTE communications specialist Vanessa Waters. The company will install 6,900 solar panels at its Greenwood Energy Center in St. Clair County. That’s enough to cover two football fields.
“The array will produce enough electricity to power approximately 330 homes,” Waters said. The project is part of a pilot program launched in 2009 and expected to produce 20 megawatts of solar power by 2016. Five of these 20 megawatts will be generated on customer property.
Even so, that array would be dwarfed by a 50-megawatt project DTE has proposed for several sites, Waters said.
And there could be more on tap.
“We keep seeing that when plans are announced, it’s going to be the biggest in the state — but then there’s plans for bigger projects so that by the time it’s actually installed, it might not be the biggest,” said Andy McGlashen, communications director for the Michigan Environmental Council. “That’s a good problem to have.”
Michigan has 2,100 workers in the solar industry, including manufacturers, installers, sales people and others involved in implementing solar energy, Sarver said.
“It’s a significant number and it’s growing,” he said.
For the full article, see Colleen Otte, "Solar power projects heat up across Michigan", Capital News Service, December 4, 2015.
Paris Climate Conference: How will Michigan and its businesses adapt?
December 2, 2015
Flint tap water "still not safe" says Virginia Tech researcher
December 2, 2015
A U.S.-Canadian agency says both federal governments should keep a closer eye on mercury pollution in the Great Lakes, which increasingly comes from as far away as Asia.
Mercury is a toxic metal that rises into the atmosphere from coal-burning power plants. It can be transported long distances before falling back to the ground.
Mercury contamination builds up in fish and is a leading cause of consumption advisories in the Great Lakes region.
Great Lakes levels expected to be mostly above average
In a study released Thursday, the International Joint Commission says mercury emissions from the U.S. and Canada have dropped significantly in recent decades. But because coal burning has risen dramatically in Asia, mercury concentrations in some Great Lakes fish are still rising.
The commission proposes funding 21 mercury monitoring stations in the U.S. and some in Canada.
For the full article, see John Flesher, "Agency: Watch mercury pollution in Great Lakes", Detroit Free Press, December 3, 2015.
Field and laboratory guide to freshwater cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms for Native American and Alaska Native communities.
Rosen, Barry H.
Reston, Virginia: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 2015.
Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Hit Yet Another Record
World Meteorological Organization
Press release on the latest greenhouse gas measurements from an international monitoring organization. In Spring 2015 the global average concentration of carbon dioxide exceeded the symbolically significant 400 ppm level. Includes links to the full report.
The impacts of vessel discharge regulations on our shipping and fishing industries.
Hearing before the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, first session, February 4, 2015.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2015.
Keystone XL Pipeline Permit Determination
U.S. Department of State.
Lists the reasons for the denial of the permit for TransCanada to build the pipeline across the U.S.
Waste analysis at facilities that generate, treat, store, and dispose of hazardous wastes, final: a guidance manual.
Washington, D.C.: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Solid Waste and Emergency Response, 2015.
WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: The State of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Based on Global Observations Through 2014
World Meteorological Organization
Latest annual report on the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Reports atmospheric abundances and rates of change of the most important greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—and provides a summary of the other gases.
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