Environment

Environment
11:34 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Great Lakes Month in Review: Iowa runoff lawsuit, Flint's water woes

Credit Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review, we look at how a lawsuit in Iowa could have implications for the Great Lakes, the latest in Flint’s water woes, and the problems that microfibers are causing for Great Lakes fish.

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Business
11:20 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Detroit Auto Show 2015: the electrics

The Chevy Bolt electric vehicle on display at the Detroit Auto Show.
Credit Mark Bashore/WKAR

The Detroit Auto show is in full swing in downtown Detroit. Two very different automakers are grabbing a lot of the electric vehicle attention at the Cobo Center this week. Current State's Peter Whorf has the latest on the electric cars on display at the North American International Auto Show through Sunday.

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Environment
11:14 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Are companies downplaying environmental performance?

Dr. Tom Lyon, University of Michigan Dow Chair of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce
Credit http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/

Companies sometimes try to look more environmentally friendly than they are, but a new study indicates they might also downplay their “green” achievements, depending on who’s listening to their message.

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Environment
11:43 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Are prescription drugs harming Great Lakes fish?

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Rebecca Klaper
Credit http://home.freshwater.uwm.edu/

Lots of things end up in Great Lakes that shouldn’t be there. Plastic bottles and microbeads, fertilizer runoff from farm fields, and invasive species are only a few. Now, add to that list prescription drugs. Researchers are increasingly worried about how chemicals from prescription medication could be impacting aquatic wildlife.

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Environment
11:54 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Young wolf brothers join sister at Potter Park Zoo

A young male gray wolf stands near his older sister sitting on a perch behind him at Potter Park Zoo.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Take a moment now, and think back to your childhood, and your elementary school music class.  You might remember listening to Sergei Prokofiev’s 1936 classic “Peter and the Wolf.”  The wolf is an enigmatic figure in our imagination, but the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing is helping us learn more about wolves with the arrival of two male gray wolves. The brothers are each eight months old.

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Environment
12:01 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Environmentalist claims bill ignores need for biodiversity

Michigan’s new state legislators have been sworn in and are already laying out their priorities for 2015. But there remains some unfinished business from last year’s lame duck legislative session. Among the bills still awaiting Governor Rick Snyder’s signature is one that’s drawing criticism from scientists and environmental groups. Senate Bill 78 would restrict the state’s Department of Natural Resources from considering biodiversity when managing state land.

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Economy
11:34 am
Thu January 8, 2015

MSU students and local non-profit partner on energy efficiency

Credit WKAR Photo

After a mild Christmas, the new year is bringing more wintry conditions to mid-Michigan. The arctic chill makes heating our homes and offices a high priority in our lives. This month, an East Lansing non-profit is launching a pilot program to help dozens of people stay warm this winter and cool next summer.

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Environment
11:28 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Meteorologist expects no polar vortex repeat

WILX-TV 10 meteorologist Andy Provenzano
Credit http://www.wilx.com/

Much of the Midwest is finally caught in the grip of Old Man Winter. This week brings the lowest Mid-Michigan temperatures since last year’s infamous “polar vortex”. What do the next weeks have in store?

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Environment
11:10 am
Tue January 6, 2015

MI environmentalist criticizes new federal coal ash standards

Credit Flickr - UCL Engineering

For years, environmentalists have been calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal ash. That’s the byproduct of coal that’s produced when it’s burned for electricity. In December, the agency did just that, issuing the first ever federal guidelines about its storage and disposal.

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Environment
10:53 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Great Lakes Year in Review: algae blooms, pipelines, and federal funding

Credit Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson. Today, a look back at the biggest environmental stories from around the basin in 2014 for a Great Lakes Year in Review.

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Environment
11:43 am
Mon December 22, 2014

DNR gives update on wolves, moose and cougars (oh my!)

Credit Flickr - Ray Dumas

Last week, a Michigan-made home video created a stir on the internet, particularly among animal lovers. It showed a pair of adult moose in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula being fed through the window of a cabin. According to Mlive, the resident says the moose have begun appearing daily, apparently expecting to be fed. The video offers a fascinating, close-up view of these extraordinary animals in or near the wild.

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Environment
11:02 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Researchers eye spread of invasive faucet snails

Faucet snails are appearing along the Great Lakes coasts.
Credit Courtesy Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth

The populations of an invasive snail in the Great Lakes may be increasing, according to a new study. Researchers from ten universities including Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University have found “faucet snails” in more areas along the Great Lakes coastline than experts previously thought.

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Environment
11:30 am
Tue December 16, 2014

New project focuses on watersheds, green infrastructure

Credit Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The water cycle is pretty simple. Evaporation. Condensation. Precipitation. But when urban areas filled with buildings and parking lots get in the way, the cycle gets interrupted, and that can cause all sorts of problems, from flooding basements to sewer overflows.

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Environment
12:17 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Study: eating right may not do right by environment

Dr. Martin Heller
Credit http://css.snre.umich.edu/

A new Michigan study looks at what we eat in the context of its environmental impact. Every few years, the U. S. Department of Agriculture puts out guidelines on how Americans should eat to maintain good health. The balance between fruits and vegetables, protein, and other nutrients has been the topic of much debate.

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Environment
10:54 am
Tue December 9, 2014

SCOTUS to consider challenge to EPA mercury rules

Nick Schroeck, director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center.
Credit http://law.wayne.edu/

The environment has taken center stage in President Barack Obama’s second term. Under his direction, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued sweeping regulations aimed at curbing global warming. But should the EPA have to consider what it costs utilities to comply with those regulations? That’s the question being asked in a case before the Supreme Court right now.

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Environment
11:13 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Limited energy infrastructure curtails rural development

Credit Flickr - Seth Sawyers

Shortly before Thanksgiving, some rural businesses in Michigan’s Thumb region faced a difficult request. At the peak of the fall harvest, Consumers Energy asked several customers to voluntarily curtail their natural gas usage for 10 hours a day. The shutoff didn’t last long, but agri-business leaders say it highlighted an ongoing concern for the future of Michigan’s energy infrastructure.

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Environment
11:11 am
Wed December 3, 2014

MSU Herbarium catalogues Michigan plant life

Alan Prather with a Michigan monkeyflower sample from the MSU Herbarium
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

There’s a special kind of library in the basement of the Plant Biology Labs at Michigan State University. Here, instead of taking a book off of a shelf, you can open a folder and find a dried plant that’s 150 years old and still green. The MSU Herbarium is an important resource for research biologists on campus.

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Environment
11:40 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Emerald Ash borer moving on to new target in Ohio

Emerald ash borers have killed millions of trees.
Credit Flickr - U.S. Department of Agriculture

Emerald ash borers are tiny creatures, smaller than a penny, with  metallic green shells and big, black eyes. They’d almost be cute if they weren’t so destructive. This tiny beetle’s big appetite has had a devastating impact on forests in the U.S.

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Environment
11:37 am
Tue December 2, 2014

New tool simulates climate change impact on MI shorelines

This simulation shows high water levels at the Harbor Bay Power Plant in Michigan's thumb region.
http://coast.noaa.gov/llv/

A new computer tool is helping official planners and even just people who are interested in the Great Lakes actually see what varying water levels do to the shoreline.

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Environment
11:28 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: Midterm elections may have implications

Credit Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review, we’ll be talking about what impact the recent midterm elections could have on environmental policies, both in Washington and in Michigan.

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Environment
1:15 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

MI adds killer shrimp, others to banned species list

Killer shrimp have been added to Michigan's banned species list.
Credit http://www.michigan.gov/dnr

Killer shrimp might sound like the name of a B-grade horror film you’d see on the Syfy channel. But unlike Sharknadoes, the tiny crustacean poses a real threat, especially in the Great Lakes. Its voracious appetite has earned it a spot on the state’s recently updated banned species list, which identifies potential invasive aquatic pests.

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Environment
11:38 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Helping Michigan landowners improve deer habitat

Credit Flickr - Ray Dumas

Many Michigan deer hunters consider the opening day of firearms season a state holiday. Thousands of sports-people joined the hunt starting this past Saturday. Last year 43-percent of Michigan hunters were successful, for a total of about 385,000 deer harvested.

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Environment
11:32 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Canadian First Nations take lead on clean energy

Chris Henderson, author of 'Aboriginal Power: Clean Energy and the Future of Canada’s First Peoples'.
Credit www.aboriginalpower.ca

In recent years, Canada has included its First Peoples populations in its efforts to expand renewable, clean energy projects. Lumos Energy president Chris Henderson has spent the last two-and-a-half decades working, as his website states, “at the intersection of clean energy, sustainable development, environmental action, economic development, and Aboriginal communities”.

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Environment
11:47 am
Wed November 12, 2014

How do the media shape perceptions of climate change?

Bruno Takahashi
Credit http://cas.msu.edu

Warnings about the climate change have gotten increasingly dire over the past decade. In its latest report, released earlier this month, the International Panel on Climate Change says mitigating the effects of global warming will require immediate action. But while a majority of Americans believe climate change is happening, most don’t think it will have an impact during their lifetime, and some think that’s why belief hasn’t necessarily translated into political will. The scientific community continues to push for action.

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Environment
12:57 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Farmers, environmentalists at odds over proposed EPA water rule

Credit Flickr - Jeffrey Smith

In middle of the 20th century, America’s rivers were in rough shape. Decades of urban growth and industrial pollution had turned many of them into dumping grounds for everything from hazardous chemicals to human waste. A burgeoning environmental movement and high profile events like the 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River finally pushed Congress to take action. In 1972, it passed the Clean Water Act, giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate water pollution. But which waterways the agency can regulate has been a source of conflict and confusion. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule it says clarifies its jurisdiction.

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Environment
11:02 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Michigan communities grapple with upgrading water infrastructure

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant
Credit http://www.michigan.gov/deq

Michigan has its share of infrastructure issues. You probably notice it most when you’re dodging potholes in your car. But while road funding has been a hot topic lately, the state has plenty of other pressing infrastructure needs. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that Michigan will need to invest around $15-billion in its drinking and waste water systems over the next 20 years.

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Environment
11:13 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Fifty years of salmon in Michigan

MSU Project FISH coordinator Mark Stephens
Credit http://msutoday.msu.edu/

Fall on Michigan’s waterways means it’s time for the salmon to spawn. Salmon can be found in many places, including the Red Cedar River and the Grand River.

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Environment
12:25 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

MSU alum instrumental in Fukushima cleanup

Joe Sopko is working on a project to freeze the area around the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. His company, Mortrench, hopes to contain water contaminated with nuclear material.
Credit Courtesy - MSU College of Engineering

In March of 2011, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan resulted in a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Three of the plants six reactors melted down, and substantial amounts of radioactive material was released. That includes contaminated water that escaped from the three units. Containing that water has proven to be an ongoing problem confronting those who are working to clean up Fukushima.

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Environment
12:18 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

DNR official explains recent Asian carp DNA find

Officials hope to keep the Asian Carp out of Michigan waters.
Credit Flickr - LouisvilleUSACE

Stopping new invasive species from taking hold in the basin has become a top priority for Michigan and other Great Lakes states. At the top of their hit list: Asian carp. The non-native fish have already infiltrated the Mississippi River system, crowding out native species and creating a nuisance for boaters.

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Environment
10:55 am
Wed October 1, 2014

New report: oil transportation poses risks to Great Lakes Region

Great Lakes Commission executive director Tim Eder
Credit http://glc.org/

The boom in oil production in North Dakota and Western Canada has turned the Great Lakes region into a transportation corridor for crude oil. The domestic production of oil has become a cornerstone of energy policy in both the U.S. and Canada. But several high-profile spills, including the one into the Kalamazoo River in 2010, have raised questions about the safety of how we transport oil.

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