Your Hub for Environmental News from Southwest Michigan and around the State

Stay up to date on environmental issues.

environmental news from SW Michigan and around the State

Here’s an idea!

You could bookmark this page and make it your information center, the place you visit regularly to stay caught up on environmental issues.

In the column on the right you’ll find links to lots of sources for information on environmental matters. These sites offer reporting and opinions about victories and setbacks in the battle to move Beyond Coal, Beyond Oil, and Beyond Natural Gas.

News on Enbridge Line 5 and other Michigan pipeline issues, and our news about the Palisades nuclear plant have their own pages:

To stay up to date on the water crisis in Flint, follow Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s reporting and news feed on their Flint Water Debacle page.

At the bottom of this page are news feeds from Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and the national Sierra Club.

Environmental news we’ve come across lately

Home solar installations provide a net benefit to the electrical grid. (August 1)

An email newsletter from Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) cites a recent report indicating that “the majority of studies conducted to date have found that solar DG [distributed generation] customers participating in net metering programs represent a net benefit to the overall grid.” The report from the Institute for Energy Innovation summarized “national data related to evaluating the ‘value of solar’ (VOS) to the overall grid.” IEI recommends that tariffs charged to owners of home solar systems “should fully compensate solar DG customers for the value their systems provide.”

Osceola Township nixes Nestlé plan to increase its pumping capacity. (April 18, updates May 4, June 20, July 28)

The Osceola Township Planning Commission has denied Nestlé a permit to build a pipeline booster station that would increase its pumping capacity from 250 gallons per minute to 450 at its Ice Mountain bottled water plant. Nestlé can appeal, says WOOD-TV 8, “so it’s possible the project may still move forward. However, the plan would still need approval by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.”

Update May 4: Detroit Free Press says Nestlé has appealed the Planning Commission’s denial.

Update June 20: Osceola Township Zoning Board of Appeals upheld the Township Planning Commission’s permit denial. MLive says Nestle can appeal the decision to Osceola County Circuit Court, but MDEQ still hasn’t decided whether it would be okay for Nestlé to pump that much water.

Update July 28: MLive reports say that Nestlé has appealed to the 49th Circuit Court. Meanwhile, DEQ still hasn’t ruled on Nestlé’s permit request. It wants Nestlé to re-do it’s study, which experts disputed last April. DEQ also “has sought input from the state Department of Natural Resources, the Attorney General’s office and Michigan Native American tribes.”

EPA discusses cleanup proposals for Otsego’s stretch of the Kalamazoo River. (July 26)

About 50 people gathered for a public meeting at Otsego Public Library Tuesday evening, July 25, to hear EPA plans for mitigating PCB contamination and making Kalamazoo River fish safe to eat. MLive reported that the $46-million plan includes removing the Otsego City Dam and excavating some areas on a two-mile stretch of the 80-mile Kalamazoo River Superfund Site. EPA’s meeting announcement said they’re accepting public comments on the plan:

Written comments must be postmarked by Aug. 30 and mailed to EPA Community Involvement Office, 1300 Bluff St., Suite 140, Flint, MI 48504 or submitted via EPA’s online public comment form at www.epa.gov/superfund/allied-paper-kalamazoo.

Wind farms bring change to Michigan communities. (June 28)

There’s more to a wind farm than its role in the transition from fossil-fueled power to clean energy. An in-depth MLive report looks at the effects on people and their community.

City of Coldwater is getting a new solar park. (June 26)

A Coldwater Board of Public Utilities project, more than five years in the making, will bring a 1.6 megawatt solar park to a dead-end street in Coldwater, says The Daily Reporter’s website. NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of American Municipal Power, is handling the project for CPBU.

Does Michigan hate electric cars? (June 15)

Green Car Reports explains why electric cars compete on such a not-level playing field in Michigan. Does Michigan hate electric cars?

Kalamazoo’s Mayor says “Yes!” to Paris climate accord. (June 7)

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell joined more than 200 mayors nationwide who’ve signed a pledge to honor the nearly global commitment to meet the climate goals set last year in Paris. Despite the the U.S. government’s abandoning the pact, “over 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, universities and others will continue to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement,” said former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to a Reuters report. At Monday’s Kalamazoo City Commission meeting, Commissioner Shannon Sykes, speaking for Mayor Hopewell, who was unable to attend, said, “This is something that we as a city are already committed to, and that won’t change.” See MLive’s report for more details.

What does U.S. withdrawal from global climate agreement mean to Michigan? (June 1)

Ostensibly, the decision to abandon the global commitment to fighting climate change is based on saving American jobs. But The Detroit News points out that the “decision will hurt renewable energy jobs that are the wave of the future” and that Ford and GM “remain committed to the environment.”

Solar and wind energy jobs are growing 12 times faster than the U.S. economy, according to an Environmental Defense Fund report, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects wind turbine service technicians will be a fast-growing growing occupation in the country through 2024.

The report quotes Ford and GM spokespersons and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter legislative and political director Mike Berkowitz.

From Ford:

“We believe climate change is real, and remain deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicles and our facilities,” Ford said in its statement. “Our commitment to sustainability is why we’re investing so heavily in electrification and adding 13 new electrified vehicles to our line-up.”

From GM:

“International agreements aside, we remain committed to creating a better environment. We publicly advocate for climate action and awareness and remain the only automaker to have signed the Ceres Climate Declaration and one of the first companies to sign the American Business Act on Climate Pledge,” the Detroit-based automaker said in a statement.

From Sierra Club:

“I think [Michigan has] been disproportionately disadvantaged because of climate change,” Berkowitz said. “For the past few years, we’ve had major disruption to apple crops, our cherry crops, which are huge industries in Michigan. And climate change is making weather patterns more extreme and causing more issues with our crops and affecting our tourism, natural resources and our agriculture industry.”

Exploratory drilling begins for possible copper mine in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. (February 7, updates February 27,  March 15, April 6, May 3, May 19)

On January 31, Michigan Department of Natural Resources okayed a permit for exploratory drilling in “the remote Michigan natural paradise,” says MLive. On February 6, Canadian mining company Highland Copper started drilling exploratory holes.

Update February 27: Drilling has stopped after four holes because the ground thawed. The permit allows drilling on frozen ground only.

Update March 15: Drilling has resumed.

Update April 6: A joint news release from Michigan DEQ, DNR, and Gogebic County Road Commission reports that drilling has stopped and “the site is under remedial action” due to erosion concerns.

Update May 3: Highland Copper’s work in Porcupine Mountains has created soil erosion and damaged wetlands, according to Michigan DEQ Water Resources Division district supervisor Steve Casey. “Department officials say Highland Copper must stabilize the site, restore disturbed wetlands, obtain permits for discharging stormwater and sedimentation,” and investigate for more wetland tampering, according to ClickOn’s report.

Update May 19: Michigan Radio’s “Stateside” researches how mining came to be allowed in Porcupine Mountains.

Bill to prohibit any Michigan regulation more stringent than federal called “sure contender for the worst Michigan environmental bill of the 21st century.” (May 4, May 19)

Skip Pruss, For Love Of Water (FLOW) board member, posted his strongly-worded objection to Michigan House Bill 4205. The bill establishes substantial roadblocks for any Michigan regulation stricter than a federal standard. Calling this “a sure contender for the worst Michigan environmental bill of the 21st century,” Pruss says:

We cannot assign the responsibility to protect Michigan’s natural resources to the federal government. We cannot surrender the safeguarding of Michigan’s natural resources to an administration that is contemptuous of efforts to protect land and water resources and boasts of its eagerness to eviscerate existing environmental rules.

Update May 19: WEMU, Eastern Michigan University’s NPR station, reports that the bill has passed the House and moved to the Senate.

News from Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

Sierra Club - Michigan Chapter News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 12, 2017


Contact: Trey Pollard trey.pollard@sierraclub.org


Sierra Club Statement on White Supremacist Terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statem...
Author: Ed S
Posted: 08-14-2017
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Author: Gail Philbin
Posted: 08-11-2017

Canada chooses to ignore Line 5 risk, omits dangerous pipeline from new report

Canadian agency removes any reference to Line 5 risk from key environmental planning report


LANSING – Oil & Water Don’t Mix voiced concern today that the Government of Canada omitted the massive risk posed...
Author: Ed S
Posted: 08-11-2017
August 3, 2017
...
Director Heidi Grether Michigan Department of Environmental Quality P.O. Box 30458
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7958
Ms. Valerie Brader Executive Director Michigan Agency for Energy Attn: Line 5 Pipeline Study P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7958
Author: Ed S
Posted: 08-05-2017

Sierra ClubNews from National Sierra Club

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