Michigan environment roundup: Climate change to blame for U.P. flooding?

This sinkhole emerged amid devastating flooding across Houghton County.  (Photo courtesy of by Richard Schreiner and the National Weather Service)

Bridge Magazine is committed to sharing the best environmental journalism in and around Michigan, an effort called #EnviroReads.

In Bridge’s Michigan Environment Watch, we share a roundup of recent 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.

Record-breaking rain behind U.P. floods is something we can expect more of

Michigan Radio

“Record rainfall devastated large parts of Houghton County earlier this month. Flash flooding killed a 12-year-old boy when the basement of his house collapsed. It damaged hundreds of homes and caused at least $100 million in damage to infrastructure,” Kaye Lafond reports. “That kind of rainfall only had a one in 1,000 chance of happening in any given year. But scientists say climate change could make these events more likely.”

Bats with rabies on the rise in Michigan, health officials say

Detroit Free Press

“State health officials have found nearly two and a half times as many rabid bats this year as in 2017, and are urging families to take precautions for themselves and their pets,” Keith Matheny reports. “Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that is transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. Bats and skunks are the most common carriers of the disease in Michigan.”

In Michigan, unwanted properties could see new life with solar projects

Midwest Energy News

“Michigan officials are exploring the potential for solar energy projects on tax-forfeited properties where there is no interest from developers for other uses,” Andy Balaskovitz reports. “A state land bank in Michigan owns more than 4,500 properties that were obtained through tax foreclosure. Many of them are undesirable due to contamination.”

Review: Toxic History, Poisoned Water: The Story of Flint

The New York Times

“Two new books approach (the Flint water crisis) from different angles. ‘What the Eyes Don’t See,’ by Mona Hanna-Attisha, is a stirring and personal account by the Flint pediatrician who first presented unequivocal proof that children were being poisoned,” Parul Sehgal writes. “Her book reads like true crime, as the doctor transforms herself into a ‘renegade and detective.’ ‘The Poisoned City,’ by the journalist Anna Clark, is comparatively drier but a more comprehensive chronicle of the crisis — with an eye for the institutional corruption and indifference that enabled it.”

How the EPA and the Pentagon Downplayed a Growing Toxic Threat


"Two new analyses of drinking water data and the science used to analyze it make clear the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense have downplayed the public threat posed by" perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS," Abrahm Lustgarten reports. "Far more people have likely been exposed to dangerous levels of them than has previously been reported because contamination from them is more widespread than has ever been officially acknowledged. Moreover, ProPublica has found, the government’s understatement of the threat appears to be no accident."

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