Michigan environment roundup: Canadian trash, solar squabbles, nuclear history

Trash from Canada is once again filling up landfills in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported this month. (stock photo)

Bridge Magazine is committed to sharing the best environmental journalism in Michigan, an experiment known as #EnviroReads.

Every two weeks, in Bridge’s Michigan Environment Watch, we’ll share a roundup of stories on the Great Lakes or other issues. If you see a story we should include next time, use the hashtag #EnviroReads on Twitter or email Environmental Reporter Jim Malewitz at jmalewitz@bridgemi.com.

O, Can-a-garbage: Canadian trash again filling Michigan landfills

Detroit Free Press, Feb. 19

“After years of decline, Canada's dirty diapers, coffee grounds and banana peels are once again being trucked to Michigan in a major way,” Keith Matheny reports.  “The reason? Michigan’s abundant landfills and low fees make it a preferred destination for trash from other states and other countries.” The surge in imported waste between 2016 and 2017 was enough trash to fill 881,000, three-axle dump trucks, according to the report.

Case to decide if Ann Arbor can keep taxing solar energy systems

MLive.com, Feb. 14

“Ann Arbor resident Mark Clevey has found himself at the center of a taxation debate that could have implications for property owners across Michigan who use solar energy. The dispute is over how much value a residential solar energy system adds to a home and whether or not that value should be taxed,” Lauren Slagter reports. “Other communities, including Ypsilanti, do not tax residential solar systems, and state agencies have recently offered conflicting information on how to tax residential solar energy.”

After 8 years, state’s first PFAS site leads to lake foam, fears

WOODTV, Feb. 20

“In the year since the Wolverine Worldwide PFAS crisis started in northern Kent County, the likely carcinogen has turned up in hundreds of wells and in the blood of some residents.It has led to 100 lawsuits alleging cancer, miscarriages, even three deaths,” WoodTV staff reports. “But 200 miles away, the state’s very first PFAS scare is something that can be seen — PFAS foam forming on a lake and a stream.” The site: the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

Michigan utility to independent generators: We don’t need you right now

Midwest Energy News, Feb. 16

“A major Michigan utility says it doesn’t need new generation from renewable energy developers, and it shouldn’t be forced to pay for it,” Andy Balaskovitz reports. “Michigan has become the latest battleground over a decades-old federal law known as the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.” The consequence: Hundreds of megawatts of renewable developments are on hold.

How nuclear power became a Southwest Michigan powerhouse

The Herald-Palladium, Feb. 18

“What is it about Southwest Michigan that attracted not just one, but two nuclear power plants?” Alexandra Newman digs into the history of the region’s nuclear power bonanza and lays out the implications.

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