Michigan environment roundup: Could Michigan voters decide Line 5’s fate?

Picketers protest Line 5 in Mackinaw City in late May. The aging pipeline that crosses the vulnerable Straits of Mackinac has become Michigan’s most contested environmental issue. (Bridge file photo)

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.

Michigan voters could get last word on Line 5 pipeline replacement

Energy News Network

“Each day (Gov. Rick Snyder) doesn’t announce a decision bolsters the significance of the November election as it relates to Line 5.” Andy Balaskovitz reports. “While Republican candidates for governor and attorney general want to replace Line 5 in its existing form, Democrats say they would waste little time in attempting to decommission the pipeline.”

100 years since the return of elk to Michigan

Michigan Radio

“Michigan elk were wiped out in the 19th century. Clear cutting the forests removed their habitat. Market hunting, that is, hunting to sell the meat to restaurants, butchers, and homes did the rest by about 1875,” Lester Graham reports. “Eventually, some conservationists got together to try to restore elk to Michigan...Today there are nearly 1,200 elk in and around Pigeon River Country State Forest near Gaylord.” Graham went searching for one.

Why a sudden spike in the temperature of the Great Lakes has scientists worried

CBC News (Canada)

“The Great Lakes are getting hotter, seeing a rise in some parts of three degrees. Aaron Fisk, a professor with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor, spoke with the CBC's Julianne Hazlewood about why temperatures are on the rise and what that means for the Great Lakes and the things that live in it.”

Lake Michigan is warming. A new report says that could mean trouble for game fish.

Chicago Tribune

"A warmer and wetter climate in the Midwest could lead to the displacement of some cold water fish species in southern Lake Michigan and trigger mass die-offs in smaller inland lakes," Tony Briscoe reports. "As the atmosphere warms due to the proliferation of greenhouse gases, so too are the Great Lakes, warns a Purdue University-led report on the impacts of climate change in Indiana. Summer surface water temperature in Lake Michigan has warmed about 3 degrees since 1980, and is projected to accelerate, rising at least 1 degree a decade, experts say. A hotter climate could become a problem for some game fish, like trout and salmon, that depend on cold, oxygen-rich waters."

Towne Club pop factory site is leaking grass-killing ooze in Detroit

Detroit Free Press

“Something is oozing out of the Towne Club pop factory on 8 Mile Road and Mt. Elliott streets. It's not just killing grass nearby, it's eradicating it — and it's leaking into a storm drain nearby,” Keith Metheny reports. “City inspectors on Thursday said they believe it's spilled diesel fuel from over-filling of above-ground tanks at the company. But [a local resident] says this was no one-time incident.”

You may be recycling the wrong way and it's costing everybody

Detroit Free Press

“Recycling got a lot easier — maybe too easy as it turns out — for about 100,000 households in Oakland County earlier this year with the arrival of what is know as single-stream recycling,” Bill Laitner reports. “But as recycling has become a cinch for more and more Americans, it has created a new problem. More people are tossing in more stuff they hope will get recycled — things like old electrical wiring and greasy pizza boxes. The intentions may be good, but it can contaminate the whole load, which can then end up in landfill.”

Michigan health officials downplay danger of PFAS at levels near advisory


“Speaking with township residents impacted by PFAS contamination, officials from state and local health departments downplayed risks associated with exposure to the substances in drinking water at levels near a federal health advisory,” Malachi Barrett reports. “Kory Groetsch, director of environmental health with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, told a packed Cooper Township board room that the minimum risk levels recommended in a [recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] report are "largely noise."”

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Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:09pm

Re - Enbridge Line 5 no reasonable and prudent option? How about just DRIVING the oil/gas so that if a spill occurs ot can be contained more effectively--or better yet, just shut down the whole damn thing and go to clean, renewable energy? I can't believe anyone would vote for Schutte; the guy won't even respond. He's a spineless coward on the take!

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 9:46am

Michigan is the Saudi Arabia of Clean Fresh Water which is quickly becoming, or is, more valuable than oil. You can live without oil, you cannot live without clean fresh water.
Line 5 is a "shortcut" thru Michigan, with all the tremendous risk and little or no benefit, except to Michigan "politicians" on the take.
Line 5 Must Go!
Michigan could be an energy exporter to neighbor states and industry magnet with clean renewable stable cost energy, with great wind and solar potential if the politicians would just get out of the way already!