Michigan Environment Watch
Michigan Environment Watch examines how public policy, industry, and other factors interact with the state’s trove of natural resources.
Aerial views of flood waters in and around Midland underscore the environmental challenges facing the region following dam breaks and historic flooding this week.
At least two cases have been filed in federal court seeking to hold the owners of two mid-Michigan dams responsible for catastrophic flooding this week.
In arguments to an Ingham County judge, lawyers for the attorney general say the pipeline easement below the Straits of Mackinac should never have been granted. Enbridge says the question was settled decades ago by the Legislature.
Republicans say Michigan’s attorney general has a conflict of interest because she recently sued the owner of a failed dam over illegally drawing down water from Wixom Lake in 2018 and 2019, killing mussels.
In court papers, the owners of a dam that failed this week near Midland acknowledged it was considered unsafe for decades. But Michigan’s only action against the dam was a suit contending it lowered water and killed freshwater mussels.
The state’s 2,581 dams, many aging and in need of repair, get little attention from legislators, but their maintenance and costs raise concerns, particularly as water levels rise in Michigan.
Dow Chemical evacuates its Midland headquarters as dam breaches bring flooding to the complex’s containment ponds.
For a decade, safety regulators demanded improvements to a 95-year-old dam that failed this week. The repairs never came, and Michigan regulators deemed the dam in “fair condition.” One critic calls it a “catastrophic failure both of the dam and of our government at all levels.”
Hundreds are rushing to help those in Midland County evacuated by breaches of the Edenville and Sanford dams. “There are sources of inspiration,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday of volunteer efforts.
The failure of the Edenville Dam has forced the evacuation of 10,000 residents in mid-Michigan, some of whom are sharing their experiences on social media.
The Edenville dam that catastrophically failed and prompted thousands of evacuations was cited repeatedly by federal authorities, who allege its owners had a “long history of noncompliance.”
Record-breaking Great Lakes water levels already wreak havoc on Michigan’s coastline. Now, they’re creating a new problem: How to maintain social distance at beaches reduced to a sliver of sand?
By analyzing the prevalence of COVID-19 in Detroit’s sewage, researchers hope to create an early warning system capable of detecting new outbreaks before patients start showing up at area hospitals.
In a letter to the Canadian oil company, state officials said Enbridge must fix omissions in its application to build the Line 5 tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac before they can review the application.
The energy giant has submitted a flurry of permit applications in its bid to replace the aging Line 5 oil and gas pipeline, sparking concerns from opponents who argue regulators should delay decisions until the coronavirus emergency ends.
MiOSHA inspectors are reviewing whether faulty masks or other safety hazards were present at the wildlife lab, where five workers contracted bovine tuberculosis. The review was spurred by Bridge reporting on the outbreak.
In heavily industrialized southwest Detroit, the governor’s stay-at-home order has not yet meant measurable improvement in air quality.
Deer-to-human transmission of TB is an exceedingly rare, Michigan-centric phenomenon. Department of Natural Resources officials said they saw no reason to publicly announce the cases.
Enbridge Energy is spending millions for residential properties near Mackinaw City, apparently confident of winning lawsuits contesting a planned tunnel. Local residents say they welcome the revenue for schools and roads.
Environmentalists cheer as Michigan approves limits for the forever chemicals that are much stricter than federal advisory levels. But some question whether there was a rush to make the rules.