Michigan environment roundup: Great Lakes water levels may surge higher

The Boardman River has completely submerged the river boardwalk in downtown Traverse City, where signs caution visitors to be cautious. (Bridge photo by John L. Russell)

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 environmental 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 AG focuses on clean energy, ratepayer support in shift for office
Midwest Energy News

 “Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is on a mission to protect the Great Lakes from pollution and advocate on behalf of consumers against corporate interests. The energy sector provides her a venue to do both. In her first nine months in office, Nessel has emerged as an outspoken supporter of residential utility customers, clean energy, climate change action and — perhaps most noticeably — shutting down the Line 5 pipeline in the Great Lakes,” Andy Balaskovitz reports. “As Nessel clashes with utilities and pipeline company Enbridge, though, critics say she is overstepping her authority and sending the wrong signals to the state’s business community through a politically driven agenda. She’s accused of being “reckless” on the Line 5 issue, and blustering when it comes to fighting with the state’s largest utilities over rate increases.”

Record-breaking Great Lakes water levels could be even higher in 2020
Detroit Free Press
“It appears 2020 won't bring relief from high Great Lakes water levels — and they could be even higher than this past record-shattering spring and summer,” Keith Matheny reports. “Following a generally rainy September, measurements by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show every Great Lake, and Lake St. Clair, well above long-term monthly average water levels for October — almost 3 feet higher on connected lakes Michigan and Huron (35 inches) and on Lake St. Clair (33 inches). Lake Erie is 29 inches above long-term October averages, Lake Ontario 20 inches above and Lake Superior 15 inches above.”

No charges, no updates 100 days after restart of criminal Flint water probe
The Flint Journal/MLive
“More than 100 days ago, Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud stood in a union hall crowded with discouraged Flint residents, defending her decision to dismiss all pending criminal charges related to the city’s water crisis. Hammoud, who was put in charge of the Flint investigation by state Attorney General Dana Nessel in January, pledged to start a new probe rather than continue the old one, digging deeper into unseen evidence and holding those responsible accountable for any crimes,” Ron Fonger reports. “But in the months since that June evening, there has been little in the way of information or updates from the solicitor general, and no new criminal charges.”

Enbridge Offers Bad River Tribe $24M To Settle Pipeline Lawsuit
Wisconsin Public Radio
“Canadian energy firm Enbridge has offered the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa at least $24 million to settle a lawsuit aimed at shutting down and removing Line 5 from the tribe’s reservation, but tribal leaders say their position remains unchanged,” Danielle Kaeding reports. 

Feeding sheep can lead to using less fossil fuels
MSU Food Fix
“Yuko Frazier spearheads the Ypsilanti-based Project Mow, which uses sheep to tend to large plots of lands overgrown with unwanted vegetation. Project Mow’s concerns lie in reducing the use of fossil fuels for tasks like plant removal, but also in a sustainable way of keeping the sheep fed,” Ray Garcia reports in a podcast. “Many of the efforts made involve re-using materials that would otherwise be thrown out but can make a healthy snack for sheep.

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