Michigan environment roundup: DTE closing coal plants early

By 2022, DTE says it will shut down three coal plants as it brings online a $1 billion natural gas plant in St. Clair County. The shutdowns will come one year earlier than previously planned.

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.

DTE Energy speeds up closing of coal-fired plants

Detroit News

“DTE Energy officials...promised a significant reduction in carbon emissions by phasing out coal-fired plants and adding a future mixture of natural gas and the renewable sources of wind and solar,” Leonard N. Fleming reports. “By 2022, DTE officials said the utility will shut down its River Rouge, Trenton and St. Clair coal-fired plants and then build a $1 billion natural-gas-fired plant in St. Clair County near its Belle River plant in East China Township, which would close in 2032.”

Wolverine’s response to family’s broken well frustrated regulators, emails show

MLive

“Regulators became frustrated last fall with Wolverine World Wide during efforts to restore running water to a family in a PFAS-contaminated area of Kent County,” Michael Kransz reports. “Emails show the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Kent County Health Department pushed for Wolverine to more aggressively assist in the search for a new water source, but an official says in the emails the company balked at the initial price tag for the fix.”

Controversial Detroit incinerator shut down after years

Detroit Free Press

“Detroit Renewable Power, the city's long-standing and controversial solid waste incinerator, has abruptly closed,” Kat Stafford and Christina Hall report. “...The decades-old incinerator has been a source of ire and frustration for many nearby residents who have complained for years about pungent odors and noise from the facility, near the interchange of I-75 and I-94, northeast of downtown.”

Climate change is already hurting fruit breeders, and consumers could soon feel the pain

The Washington Post

“Researchers across the United States say the milder winters of a changing climate are inducing earlier flowering of temperate tree fruits, exposing the blooms and nascent fruit to increasingly erratic frosts, hail and other adverse weather,” Adrian Higgens, reports. “...In 2002, tart cherry growers in Michigan suffered large freeze-related losses to their crop but considered the disaster a once-in-a-century event. In 2012, trees began breaking dormancy more than five weeks early, followed by a freeze. The state’s cherry harvest that year tanked to just under 12 million pounds, compared with a more normal 158 million pounds in 2011, according to Agriculture Department statistics. Michigan produces two-thirds of the nation’s tart cherries. The same year and for the same reason, the state’s apple crop dropped from 980 million pounds to 115 million.”

Michigan tart cherry growers get the squeeze from overseas

South Bend Tribune

“A successful effort to develop new markets for Michigan’s tart cherry crop was virtually eliminated by a killing frost that took out most of the state’s crop in 2012. Knowing America’s declining appetite for desserts, the industry opted to tax itself to raise money for the effort to promote the benefits of tart cherries, which can aid in sleep and help those suffering from gout and arthritis — among other things,” Ed Semmler reports. “But after the frost, distributors, bottlers and others scrambled to find new suppliers to fill the void, and they found them in Turkey, which was eager to expand its markets. As Michigan harvests returned to normal, the market was flooded with tart cherries, forcing prices well below the estimated 27 cents per pound it cost a U.S. grower to produce tart cherries.”

Great Lakes Basin warming faster than other parts of country, new study finds

Detroit Free Press

“The Great Lakes Basin has warmed more over the last 30 years than the rest of the contiguous United States — and could warm dramatically more by the end of the 21st century, a new, first-of-its-kind study of how climate change has impacted the Great Lakes region finds,” Keith Matheny reports.

 

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