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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Pipeline projects could boost local jobs

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Construction of a 65-mile water pipeline from Manitowoc to Brown County could have a significant impact on the local economy, say contractors seeking to bid on the first local portions of the project.

The latest estimates peg the total cost at $119 million.

“It’s great for the community,” said Dan Dorner of Dorner Inc. in Luxemburg. “All this work in the area being split into 10 projects should give small contractors a chance to bid. Then the work stays in the area.”   more...

 



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Protesters not happy to see ice broken

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On Monday, the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Simcoe will start breaking the ice on the Saint Lawrence Seaway. But these protesters say it's much too early.

"When the ice is this good, it's great for tourism, its great for our snowmobile clubs and our ATV clubs, and you know there's really no traffic ready on the seaway,” said protester Greg Lago.

If all goes as planned some sections of the St. Lawrence Seaway could open by March 25th.   more...

 



Environment  Other  

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Fox River cleanup targets paper companies, insurers

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Wisconsin lawmakers planned today to introduce a bill intended to move along the PCB cleanup of the Fox River by forcing insurance companies to pay out early to cover costs.  more...

 



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What you can do

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The What You Can Do web site is a place to find information and tips to help you take actions in your daily life for a cleaner and healthier environment.   more...


 



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Michigan lawmakers want states to fight exotic species

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- Great Lakes states should regulate the oceangoing ship ballast widely suspected of ferrying exotic species to the region, instead of leaving the job to a slow-moving federal government, two Michigan legislative leaders said Monday.

State Sen. Patty Birkholz, R-Saugatuck Township, said she would introduce a bill this week authorizing Michigan to form a coalition with the region's other seven states to deal with the problem.   more...

 



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Michigan lawmakers want states to fight exotic species

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. Two Michigan legislators say Great Lakes states should regulate the ocean ship ballast suspected of bringing exotic species to the region -- instead of leaving it to a slow-moving federal government.

State Senator Patty Birkholz says she'll introduce a bill authorizing Michigan to form a coalition with the region's other seven states to deal with the problem.

The bill calls for the states to develop rules and a system to enforce them _ including inspection of oceangoing ships entering Great Lakes ports.  more...

 



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EPA missed spill

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photoGREILICKVILLE - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency missed a plume of highly contaminated groundwater deep and wide enough to sail a ship when it decided not to clean up a commercial dry-cleaning operation in 1992.
      An environmental consultant estimated that since 1980 contaminated groundwater has flowed into West Bay from the Grand Traverse Overall Supply Co. site off Cherry Bend Road near M-22 in Leelanau County's Elmwood Township.  more...


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MAN-MADE WETLAND'S EFFECTIVENESS SIMILAR TO NATURAL MARSH

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers who studied a man-made wetland in Ohio for two years concluded that the created wetland filtered and cleaned water as well as or better than would a natural marsh.

The wetland, which was built in an agricultural area, reduced levels of phosphorus by nearly 60 percent and nitrates by 40 percent. Phosphorus and nitrates are prime ingredients in both fertilizers and in water pollution.

High levels of these nutrients can cause algae to flourish, often to the detriment of fish and other animals that depend on waterways for survival. Algae essentially rob oxygen from water in a pond, lake and even the ocean.  more...

 



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Wolf survey fizzles; DNR discounts 'conspiracy'

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A two-week search for wolf tracks in northern Michigan did not find a single print, but Department of Natural Resources biologists say they are not really surprised.

The survey was taken Feb. 21-March 4 to find tracks in about 2,000 square miles between Rogers City and the north end of Torch Lake, near Elk Rapids.

DNR biologist Brian Mastenbrook said he wasn't surprised by the lack of success.

"With such a large area and a low density (of wolves), the chances were pretty slim," he said.

Mastenbrook said that about 30 employees and volunteers from the DNR, local Indian tribes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's wildlife section and Central Michigan University's graduate wildlife program participated in the survey.   more...

 



Animals  Environment  

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More 3M water testing urged

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State Health Department officials are testing wells near Cottage Grove for contamination by two 3M Co. chemicals, but a national environmental group is urging Minnesota's Pollution Control Agency to step up testing of groundwater statewide.

The Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., is urging the state agency to broaden sampling of two per-fluorochemicals manufactured by 3M at its Chemolite plant in Cottage Grove.

"Given the persistence and toxicity of this chemical, we strongly urge you to initiate the testing programs your staff have requested in order to learn if other at-risk water supplies are contaminated," Jane Houlihan, the environmental group's vice president of research, said in a March 9 letter to the commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  more...

 



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Environmentalists seek mediation in MMSD suit

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Environmental groups suing the sewerage district over raw sewage dumping are seeking mediation, after the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to consider a lower court ruling that kept the casealive.

So far, MMSD has spent $514,000 in taxpayer money on legal fees in the case, said Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District spokesman Bill Graffin.

Cameron Davis, executive director of the Lake Michigan Federation, said Wednesday that the federation and Friends of Milwaukee Rivers want to negotiate a mediated settlement in the long-standing dumping case.    more...

 



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Is road salt a ticking time bomb?

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(March 11, 2005) — Bleached highways, rusting cars, drive-by pepperings by snow plows. We've all had experience with the one seasoning that winter seems to dish out in abundance: road salt.

"A lot is used, and it's obviously harmful to the environment," said Annie Hidley, 15, of Penfield.

In the last two years, the ninth-grader at Penfield High School has done experiments on the effect of salts on grass, inspired by the salt-browned vegetation that appeared along her street every spring.

Her potted samples of grass all died. "We need alternatives," Annie said.

But salt — cheap, available and usually effective — is likely to remain the Northeast's premier de-icing agent.    more...

 



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Officials decide against use of general beach grooming permits

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BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) -- State environmental officials have decided against the use of general permits for the grooming of beach vegetation exposed by low water levels because the process could harm the environment.

A law passed in 2003 authorized a general permit category for grooming, allowing local governments to apply on behalf of their residents, rather than having residents apply individually.

Bay County's Bangor and Kawkawlin townships had requested general permits to allow residents to remove beach vegetation in the area between the ordinary high water mark and the water's edge.   more...

 



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Commissioners, DNR to parley on complaints about lake levels

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The levels of Roscommon County’s three large lakes will be the topic of a public meeting between county commissioners and Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials in Roscommon March 14.

Commissioners scheduled the meeting after receiving a Jan. 21 letter in which DNR Resource Management Deputy Mindy Koch said commissioners have kept Houghton Lake, Higgins Lake and Lake St. Helen above the levels set by court order, resulting in shoreline erosion and imperiling aquatic plants and animals.

The session is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the 34th Circuit Courtroom in the county building. Robin Seymour, administrative assistant to commissioners, said state Sen. Michelle McManus, R-Lake Leelanau, and state Rep. Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch, have indicated they will attend.   more...


 



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Blending the Rules

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Child swimming in water.Like clean water? Then you'll love Rep. Bart Stupak.

For the last year, Stupak has been fighting a U.S. EPA proposal that would allow inadequately treated sewage to be "blended" with fully treated waste during rain and snow events. The messy mix would then be released into the nation's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. If blending is permitted, Stupak warns, people will get sick, beaches will close, and tourism and fishing will suffer. Not only that, taxpayers will bear the cost of cleanup down the road.

"It doesn't make sense," the Michigan Democrat says. He compares it to a questionable cup of water: "Three-fourths of it will be clean, but one-fourth of it is going to be dirty. But the whole glass isn't dirty; therefore, it's all right to consume."
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