MLIVE: An investigation into PFAS contamination in Richland Township’s groundwater is moving south as the toxic substance continues to be found farther from its source, the former Production Plated Plastics property at the intersection of D Avenue and 34th Street. According to results released as of Jan. 25, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances were found in 16 private wells at levels greater than a state and federal health advisory. Residents are being provided water filters as a precaution while the study area grows, DEQ officials said. The Kalamazoo County Health Department is coordinating the effort to identify which homes should be tested and hand out filters made to limit exposure to chemicals linked to cancer, thyroid disorders and development problems.
Published: February 02, 2019
MiBIZ: The Michigan Public Service Commission is preparing to revise interconnection rules that govern how independent solar power developers work with utilities to connect to the grid. The move comes after developers last year submitted hundreds of proposals into a system designed to handle five or six annually, according to an MPSC official. Currently, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy have hundreds of megawatts of proposed solar projects from developers waiting in their interconnection queue. It may take two years to streamline the process.
Published: January 30, 2019
The state of Michigan has issued its first permit to Enbridge Energy for a controversial Line 5 tunnel construction project, even as the governor and attorney general have questioned the legality of the construction agreement. In December, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law creating the tunnel's oversight body, the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority. Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel started a review of the legislation and other agreements Jan. 2 at the request of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to resolve "any legal uncertainty." Nessel is expected to issue an opinion by "early March at the latest." (Detroit News)
Published: January 30, 2019
Enbridge issued a written statement that the fire had injured two people and damaged three homes. The company said the section of pipe is 30 inches in diameter and was built about 65 years ago. Anne Woiwode, chair of the Sierra Club's Michigan chapter, said the Ohio explosion should prompt Michigan officials to close down Enbridge's controversial Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac. "We're concerned about the potential danger in Michigan from the same company, same age pipeline," Woiwode said. "We are continuing to see instances in which Enbridges pipelines have been failing and failing dramatically."
Published: January 23, 2019
Michigan is expanding the breadth of its PFAS scrutiny by considering whether a so-called “safe” replacement chemical carries enough health threat to warrant state officials setting a risk level for exposure. The Department of Environmental Quality on Dec. 19, 2018, moved FTS 6:2 onto its list of chemicals under review. The process, which focuses on air emissions, means that businesses using the chemical could eventually face new permitting guidelines. The move signals two changes for the state’s approach to considering per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals.
Published: January 22, 2019
The state of Michigan is withdrawing from two lawsuits challenging federal environmental regulations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office filed motions to withdraw from the cases Friday. The lawsuits date back a couple of years to when Republican Bill Schuette served as Michigan Attorney General. One of the lawsuits challenges the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Michigan had also been a petitioner in a case filed by the Murray Energy Corporation, asking the court to review the EPA’s 2016 finding “that it is appropriate and necessary to Regulate Hazardous Air Pollutants from Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units.”
Published: January 21, 2019
A new bill in the state Senate would set a limit of 5 parts per trillion for two common PFAS chemicals in drinking water. PFOA and PFOS are part of a family of chemicals linked to serious health issues – including cancer. Senator Winnie Brinks introduced the bill. She says research shows the current Environmental Protection Agency advisory level of 70 parts per trillion is too high. As a representative last year, Brinks proposed a similar version that died in a state House committee.
Published: January 19, 2019
A day after being inaugurated, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pushing back against Republican efforts to keep oil flowing through the Great Lakes. Whitmer has asked Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a fellow Democrat, to issue a formal opinion on the legality of a new law creating a panel of officials appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder that rubber-stamped a deal last month to keep oil flowing through the Straits of Mackinac.
Published: January 03, 2019
Rainfall for 2018 was above average for most areas of Michigan. Some of southern Michigan had a 10 inch surplus of precipitation. The southwest corner of Lower Michigan had over 50 inches of total precipitation.
Published: January 02, 2019
It’s been two years since the Legislature passed sweeping energy reform bills, yet the laws remain front and center for those working behind the scenes on energy policy. In addition to boosting the state’s renewable energy portfolio to 15 percent by 2021, Public Acts 341 and 342 of 2016 (which took effect in April 2017) established a series of benchmarks for how the Michigan Public Service Commission would set policies on issues including energy efficiency, long-term utility planning, opt-in green power programs and market purchases.
Published: December 23, 2018
A changing climate has contributed to higher maize yields in Michigan and other Corn Belt states, a new study has found. It attributes more than one-quarter – 28 percent – of the region’s higher crop yield since 1981 to trends toward overall warmer conditions, cooling of the hottest growing-season temperatures and farmers’ climate-related earlier planting and choice of longer-maturing varieties.
Published: December 07, 2018
A recent poll revealed that environmental health is more important to Michigan residents than economic gain. The Healthy People-Healthy Planet Poll surveyed 1,000 Michigan residents about issues relating to their state, the environment, the economy and governmental policy. Sixty-seven percent rated environmental protection as more important than economic gain.
Published: November 21, 2018