Environment

Great Lakes
Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Texans and Oklahomans don’t just clash over football. They also have a long history of battling over water, with the most recent conflict playing out in the Supreme Court. Justices recently ruled that  the Tarrant  Regional Water District, located in North Texas, cannot divert water from Oklahoma river basins.  

New co-generation power plant set to recharge Lansing

Jun 17, 2013
Kevin Lavery

The massive co-generation power plant rising above Lansing's REO Town neighborhood is nearly complete. The Lansing Board of Water and Light 's (BWL) new 46,000 square-foot facility has been under construction for more than two years. The power plant officially comes online July 1, and will replace four coal-fired steam units at the nearby Moores Park plant built in 1950s. The BWL says the new plant is much more environmentally friendly. Residents and business owners believe it will also bring economic gain to their neighborhood. 

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This Thursday, Lansing residents have a chance to weigh in on the latest suggestion for dealing with city sewage and stormwater.  City administrators say the so-called "Wet Weather" project would combine Lansing’s 20-year old CSO, or “combined sewage overflow” project, with two other similar ones involving sanitary sewer overflow and stormwater. 

 

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What should America’s energy future be, and how do we hammer out an environmentally conscious national energy security plan for the future?   

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This year record low water levels have spurred the Michigan government to spend over $20 million on dredging. Many hope dredging will enable recreational and commercial boating to continue, preventing revenue loss.

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It’s been two and a half years since an oil pipeline owned by the Canadian company Enbridge ruptured near Marshall, spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons of heavy crude oil into the Kalamazoo River. The incident has been one of the costliest oil spills in U.S. history and the clean-up is still ongoing.

Steve Hamilton, an MSU scientist who has been monitoring the clean-up, updates Current State on the situation. 

Red Cedar welcomes fish and anglers

Apr 16, 2013
Yanjie Wang

 In December, the MSU Board of Trustee's lifted a 1960's ordinance, which banned fishing on campus. Students are now allowed to fish the Red Cedar in designated areas. To promote fishing on the river, the Department of Natural Resources released 3,000 fish into the river on Monday. Some MSU students and staff hope welcoming anglers will help improve the river’s reputation. 

MSU students launch fossil free campaign

Apr 4, 2013

Environmentalists trying to get Michigan State University to curtail coal-generated power are announcing a new tactic today. The MSU Sierra Student Coalition is launching the MSU Fossil Free campaign. The effort is an attempt to get the university to divest millions of endowment dollars the coalition says are invested in the fossil fuel industry. Callie Bruley, an MSU student and a coordinator of MSU Beyond Coal, and Brad Van Guilder, who represents the Michigan Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal effort, discuss the MSU Fossil Free campaign. 

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The American Bird Conservancy released a report last week calling for a ban on widely-used insecticides suspected of damage to bird and aquatic populations.

 

WKAR’s Peter Whorf speaks with MSU assistant professor of zoology Dr. Pamela Rasmussen about the class of insecticides containing neonicotinoids.

Courtesy of Dr. Sherri Mason

Scientists have conducted extensive research on the plastic-filled gyres of the ocean. This past summer, however, researchers decided to look inland for the first time and measure plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Some of the groups' water samples had concentrations of plastic greater than those found anywhere else. The study has resulted in several other projects. Chemistry professor Dr. Sherri Mason discusses the plastic pollution in the basin.

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The Great Lakes’ record-low water levels are rightly receiving all of the attention now, but evidence is growing that Michigan’s fragile groundwater resources are quietly becoming a concern for the future.

Robert Glennon, professor of law and public policy at the University of Arizona and author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to do About It,” knows Michigan well and shares his insights.

State seeks public input on Michigan's energy future

Feb 14, 2013

What should Michigan’s long-range priorities be regarding energy?  Governor Rick Snyder and other state officials want to know.

This Thursday afternoon in Lansing is the public’s first chance to make its voice heard at a forum being held at the State Library. Next December, the Governor plans to issue a comprehensive set of recommendations based in part on the forums.  

Today on Current State, three guests with different perspectives discuss the energy issue.

More than 400 Michigan farmers had a chance to meet with state legislators this week to talk about their priorities for 2013.  The Michigan Farm Bureau has outlined three main focus areas for its agenda: access to markets, workforce development, and regulatory reform. 

This month Lake Michigan and Lake Huron hit record low water levels. The receding water is causing environmental and economic problems in the Great Lakes Basin.

To offset the water levels, Governor Rick Snyder has proposed a $21 million budget to dredge harbors. Patrick Doran, director of conservation for the Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and Jon Allan, director of the Office of the Great Lakes, discuss dredging and the future of the Great Lakes’ water levels.

WKAR file photo

A Lansing-area state legislator is urging federal environmental officials to get tough with the coal-fired SS Badger.

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