Michigan Environment Watch

Michigan Environment Watch examines how public policy, industry, and other factors interact with the state’s trove of natural resources.

Articles

Michigan waited years to heed warnings on PFAS dangers, expert says

November 13, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

A DEQ veteran sounded alarms about threats to waters in 2010. Seven years later, Michigan took action. ‘I was at the edge of the abyss looking into hell,” scientist testifies.

Mackinac Bridge Authority in no hurry to consider Line 5 tunnel deal

November 8, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

On his way out of office, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder presents Line 5 tunnel deal to bridge authority members, drawing deep scrutiny. 

Gretchen Whitmer and Dana Nessel vowed to shut Line 5. Now’s their chance

November 8, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Halting Enbridge Energy’s oil pumping beneath the Straits of Mackinac was key promise in the Democratic campaigns of Michigan’s next governor and attorney general. Can they deliver?

Lead levels drop in Michigan kids after Flint spike. But so does testing.

November 2, 2018 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

With map: After a one-year increase, blood lead levels are down again in Michigan. But is it because fewer people are getting tested now that the Flint water crisis has faded?

In Northern Michigan, tribes protesting Line 5 hunker down for winter

November 2, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Representing Native Americans across Michigan and beyond, a small group of “water protectors” say they plan to camp out near the Straits of Mackinac until Enbridge Energy’s oil pipeline is shut down.

Michigan tribes say Line 5 pipeline tunnel plan ignores treaty rights

November 2, 2018 | Andy Balaskovitz

Grand Traverse Band says ‘we were here first,’ but have been ‘pushed aside and treated as second-class people’ during debate and discussion about the controversial oil pipeline.

Great Lakes drownings peaked in 2018. And the year’s not over.

November 2, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

A safety advocacy group has tracked 728 Great Lakes drownings since 2010, including 105 in the first 10 months of 2018.

Minnesota has fought PFAS for years. Here’s how its plan can help Michigan.

October 17, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Michigan is planning to sue 3M for manufacturing hazardous chemicals showing up in water systems. Minnesota sued the company years ago and is sharing documents and other information, a top Minnesota regulator says.

Michigan environment roundup: ‘Bee highway’ to the rescue in Detroit

October 17, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

This week’s can’t-miss journalism about Michigan’s natural resources.

Enbridge to build $350M tunnel to protect Line 5 in Straits of Mackinac

October 3, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Gov. Rick Snyder announces that he won’t seek shutdown of controversial oil pipeline, opting instead for an agreement with its owners, Enbridge Energy, to protect it with a tunnel.

Monarch butterflies need saving in Michigan. Fenton woman does her part.

October 3, 2018 | Timothy Jagielo

Climate change, loss of habitat and destruction of milkweed are plunging populations of monarch butterflies, which are vital to the ecosystem.

Michigan groundwater emergency threatens fish, drinking water, way of life

September 26, 2018 | Brett Walton

From PFAS to leaking septic tanks and farm runoff, Michigan’s most precious resource –  its fresh water – is under assault from a host of threats. A new report says the crisis doesn’t receive the urgency it deserves.

Lack of oversight allows leaky septic systems to befoul Michigan waters

September 26, 2018 | Brett Walton

One in three homes in Michigan is hooked up to septic systems, and the state is one of a few in the nation without laws governing residential units.

Dry wells, salty crops forced Ottawa County to confront groundwater crisis

September 26, 2018 | Brett Walton

Booming development declines aquifers, making them more polluted with dangerous nitrates. Even though Michigan is home to the Great Lakes, some communities are learning the wells can run dry.

Michigan PFAS by the numbers: How much is unsafe?

September 26, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Confusion runs rampant about PFAS dangers. The federal government and states can’t agree on how much is unsafe for states. Here’s a primer on what’s known so far.

Forty years ago, Michigan had one of worst mass poisonings in U.S. history

September 26, 2018 | Brett Walton

A mixup in livestock supplements forever changed the course of history in Kalkaska County, sickening tens of thousands of cows and causing health complications to humans that may still linger.

Online broadcast to discuss Michigan groundwater emergency on Oct. 1

September 26, 2018 | Bridge Staff

Bridge and its partners, Circle of Blue and Detroit Public Television, will host an interactive broadcast to discuss pollution threats that affect millions worldwide.

A slow-moving ‘disaster’ is threatening Lake Superior and way of life

September 18, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

The Buffalo Reef in the Keweenaw Peninsula teems with lake trout and whitefish. But a mountain of waste from a closed mine is slowly seeping into the water, prompting a desperate search for a solution.

Slideshow: In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, mining waste threatens Buffalo Reef

September 18, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

View photos from the past and present showing how waste from a closed mine is smothering key fish spawning grounds in Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay.

Mining waste and growing wetlands mean more mercury in fish in Upper Peninsula

September 18, 2018 | Eric Freedman

A Michigan Tech researcher says studies show humans are at risk because of high levels of the toxic metal in inland Great Lakes fish.

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