the environment report http://michiganradio.org en You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? http://michiganradio.org/post/you-pay-about-penny-gallon-gas-clean-pollution-money-spent-well <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Every time you fill up, you pay seven-eighths of a cent per gallon of gas for a “regulatory fee” that was originally set up to help clean up the thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan.</span></p><p>Those pennies you pay at the pump add up to a $50 million pot of money each year.</p><p>It’s called the Refined Petroleum Fund. The fund worked initially. The money helped remove tens of thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan. When those old tanks leak, they can pollute the soil and ruin nearby water sources.</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:57:21 +0000 Mark Brush 17193 at http://michiganradio.org You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? There could be bad news for Michigan fruit crops; grapevines might have suffered the most http://michiganradio.org/post/there-could-be-bad-news-michigan-fruit-crops-grapevines-might-have-suffered-most <p></p><p></p><p>Farmers are finally able to head out into their fields, orchards and vineyards to see how everything fared over the winter.&nbsp;</p><p>Ken Nye is a commodities specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau.&nbsp;</p><p>He's expecting a lot of damage to Michigan fruits.&nbsp;</p><p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:13:42 +0000 Rebecca Williams 17182 at http://michiganradio.org There could be bad news for Michigan fruit crops; grapevines might have suffered the most Wilderness Proposals Increasingly Divisive On Capitol Hill http://michiganradio.org/post/wilderness-proposals-increasingly-divisive-capitol-hill Fifty years ago, Congress set out to guarantee future generations would always have access to America’s great outdoors in its most natural state. But several recent requests for wilderness protections have been languishing on Capitol Hill.<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&#160;&#160;</span><a href="http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wiaa/audio/2014/03/TERforThursdayMarch27thforLinda.mp3" class="asset-audio"></a><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the past five years, just one new wilderness bill made it to law. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:05:55 +0000 Linda Stephan 16994 at http://michiganradio.org Wilderness Proposals Increasingly Divisive On Capitol Hill Archeologists Diverge On Discovery In Lake Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/archeologists-diverge-discovery-lake-michigan Archeologists studying a wooden beam pulled from northern Lake Michigan this summer can't say whether it is a piece of the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes or a post from an old fishing net. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:50:57 +0000 Peter Payette 16593 at http://michiganradio.org Archeologists Diverge On Discovery In Lake Michigan Enbridge has a new plan for dredging parts of the Kalamazoo River http://michiganradio.org/post/enbridge-has-new-plan-dredging-parts-kalamazoo-river <p>Enbridge Energy is still cleaning up oil left over from its pipeline spill in the Kalamazoo River. &nbsp;</p><p>The company has already recovered most of the oil, but it's still working to comply with an order from the federal regulators, who say they need to clean up another 180,000 gallons.&nbsp;</p><p>According to Enbridge's new plan, they can start that cleanup March 15. But that's all dependent on this crazy weather. Right now, everything is frozen. But, if spring warms things up and there's flooding, that can also be problematic for the dredging process.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 20 Feb 2014 17:43:27 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16525 at http://michiganradio.org Enbridge has a new plan for dredging parts of the Kalamazoo River How emergency responders in Michigan are preparing for the next pipeline break http://michiganradio.org/post/how-emergency-responders-michigan-are-preparing-next-pipeline-break <p>There are close to 70,000 miles of underground pipelines in Michigan carrying all kinds of materials around the state – things like natural gas, refined petroleum, and crude oil.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">And for the most part, we really don’t notice these pipelines. That was true in Michigan until one summer day three and half years ago when this happened:</span></p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILwEFZoxd9Q</p><p>The Kalamazoo River oil spill was the worst inland oil spill in North America.</p><p>It took Enbridge Energy 17 hours to realize they had a broken pipeline.</p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 15:54:51 +0000 Mark Brush 16326 at http://michiganradio.org How emergency responders in Michigan are preparing for the next pipeline break What heavy ice coverage means for Great Lakes shipping and water levels http://michiganradio.org/post/what-heavy-ice-coverage-means-great-lakes-shipping-and-water-levels <p>Ice formed on the Great Lakes early this year, thanks to the arctic temperatures we’ve been experiencing.</p><p></p><p>And that should be good for lake levels, which have plummeted in recent years. Right?</p><p></p><p>Well, it turns out the answer to that question is a bit complicated.</p><p></p><p>Lake levels are affected by a number of factors, including temperature, precipitation, evaporation and ice cover.</p><p> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Sarah Hulett 16147 at http://michiganradio.org What heavy ice coverage means for Great Lakes shipping and water levels The teeny, tiny ingredient that could add up to a big problem for the Great Lakes http://michiganradio.org/post/teeny-tiny-ingredient-could-add-big-problem-great-lakes <p>Ever seen a commercial for a face scrub or body wash that promises to “polish” your skin with “micro-beads?”</p><p></p><p>Or maybe one of the hundreds of these products already sits in your shower.</p><p></p><p>Ever wonder what those little beads are?</p><p></p><p>Chances are pretty good they’re plastic. And once they circle your drain and go down your pipes, chances are also pretty good they’re not going to get filtered out by your city’s sewage treatment plant.</p><p></p><p><strong>Millions of tiny beads that look a lot like fish food</strong></p><p></p> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Sarah Hulett 16106 at http://michiganradio.org The teeny, tiny ingredient that could add up to a big problem for the Great Lakes Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? http://michiganradio.org/post/can-sewage-treatment-plants-protect-fish-chemicals-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">S</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">o you know the saying, right? </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Stuff </em>flows downhill?&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Myron Erickson knows a lot about that "stuff."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">He heads up the sewage treatment plant that sits along the Grand River in Wyoming, Michigan (right next to Grand Rapids).</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The screening room is where they take out the "grit." Erickson calls them "knick knacks."</span></p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 14:38:51 +0000 Mark Brush 16047 at http://michiganradio.org Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? What should we do about the trace chemicals found in drinking water? http://michiganradio.org/post/what-should-we-do-about-trace-chemicals-found-drinking-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Before I talk about the small bits of chemicals often found in drinking water, I want to direct some attention to the national water contamination story going on now because I think it reveals something.</span></p><p><strong>The water is bad in West Virginia</strong></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The nation has its eyes on a nine-county area in West Virginia that’s under a state of emergency.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A coal-processing chemical leaked into a river and poisoned the drinking water there. Cleanup is ongoing. As they attempt to flush the chemical out of their drinking water systems, officials are trying to determine what level of the chemical is safe.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Ken Ward&nbsp;Jr. of the <a href="http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401130090">West Virgina Gazette reports </a>that local and federal officials are saying that "1 part per million" of &nbsp;crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol&nbsp;(the coal processing chemical) is safe for people to drink. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But Ward is having a tough time finding out what they based that number on:</span></p><p> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:05:15 +0000 Mark Brush 16004 at http://michiganradio.org What should we do about the trace chemicals found in drinking water? Why airports look like home to snowy owls http://michiganradio.org/post/why-airports-look-home-snowy-owls <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Every year, some snowy owls make their way south from their Arctic homeland in search of food, and some of us here in the Great Lakes region have been lucky enough to spot these magnificent birds on tree branches, or poles, or … near airports.</span></p><p>A<span style="line-height: 1.5;">irports have wide open treeless spaces, and can look a lot like home to snowy owls. And for wildlife specialists who work at airports from the Great Lakes to the Northeast, this has been a busy winter.</span></p><p><strong>Eight owls trapped in one week at DTW</strong></p> Thu, 02 Jan 2014 14:00:00 +0000 Sarah Hulett 15847 at http://michiganradio.org Why airports look like home to snowy owls Ypsilanti family finds happiness in living off the land http://michiganradio.org/post/ypsilanti-family-finds-happiness-living-land <p>Meet the Gold family. They're modern day homesteaders.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Their goal is to live as self-sufficiently as possible on their three-acre farm in </span>Ypsilanti<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. (They often say they use yesterday's knowledge combined with today's technology.)</span></p><p>Two years ago they started the <a href="http://www.mifolkschool.com/">Michigan Folk School. </a>The school promotes traditional folk arts and the preservation of forest and farmland.</p> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:06:00 +0000 Kyle Norris 15758 at http://michiganradio.org Ypsilanti family finds happiness in living off the land Why are Great Lakes birds dying from botulism? http://michiganradio.org/post/why-are-great-lakes-birds-dying-botulism <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Imagine walking down a picturesque beach along Lake Michigan, and stumbling upon the carcasses of dead birds. That’s a very real and unpleasant problem along Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. (It’s not as big of an issue in Lake Superior because of the lake’s colder water temperatures.)</span></p><p>Loons and other deep-diving birds are suffering from a disease called avian botulism. It’s form of food poisoning that kills wild birds in the Great Lakes ecosystem.</p> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 12:58:00 +0000 Kyle Norris 15717 at http://michiganradio.org Why are Great Lakes birds dying from botulism? Go lake trout! Native fish overcome seemingly ‘insurmountable’ challenges in Lake Huron http://michiganradio.org/post/go-lake-trout-native-fish-overcome-seemingly-insurmountable-challenges-lake-huron <p>A fish that was almost wiped out in the Great Lakes is making a comeback in Lake Huron.</p><p><a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/lake-trout">Lake trout</a> are suddenly doing what biologists have been trying to get them to do for more than 40 years: They’re making babies.</p><p>Lake trout used to be a mainstay of Great Lakes commercial fishing in the first half of the twentieth century. The Lakes would produce 15 million pounds of the fish every year.</p><p>Then the sea lamprey came in and sucked the life out of the lake trout populations.</p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:00:00 +0000 Peter Payette 15648 at http://michiganradio.org Go lake trout! Native fish overcome seemingly ‘insurmountable’ challenges in Lake Huron Women making healthier decisions at seafood counter http://michiganradio.org/post/women-making-healthier-decisions-seafood-counter <p></p><p></p><p>Over the last decade, women have switched to making much healthier choices at the seafood counter.</p><p>First, let's make it clear: fish is healthful food.</p><p>But, fish can contain traces of mercury, some fish more than others. And to make sure you don’t consume too much of that toxin, you need to know which fish have heavier loads of mercury.</p><p>Why?</p><p>Because mercury is a toxic contaminant that can cause neurological damage. For women who could have children or who are pregnant, too much mercury could mean developmental problems for their babies.</p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 14:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 15532 at http://michiganradio.org Women making healthier decisions at seafood counter What will be fueling your car in the future? http://michiganradio.org/post/what-will-be-fueling-your-car-future <p>Hydrogen fuel cells, compressed natural gas, all-electric… what kind of cars are we going to be driving in a few years?</p><p>The LA Auto Show wrapped up… and the next big show is the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit in January.</p><p>There, of course, is a lot of well-orchestrated hype at these big auto shows. If you’re looking for a clear direction on what we’ll be driving in the future, it’s still a mixed bag. But, new advances are dominated by efficiency improvements in the internal combustion engine. Tue, 03 Dec 2013 14:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 15497 at http://michiganradio.org What will be fueling your car in the future? This is what it sounds like to be attacked by a turkey http://michiganradio.org/post/what-it-sounds-be-attacked-turkey <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Back in 2007, I was doing </span><a href="http://environmentreport.org/story.php?story_id=3719" style="line-height: 1.5;">a story on CAFOs</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in Wood County, Ohio.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I was waiting for my interviewee to return home when I spotted a gang of turkeys appear at the edge of the woods.</span></p> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:52:25 +0000 Mark Brush 15444 at http://michiganradio.org This is what it sounds like to be attacked by a turkey This is what it sounds like inside Michigan's largest wind farm http://michiganradio.org/post/what-it-sounds-inside-michigans-largest-wind-farm <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Gratiot County Wind Farm has 133 wind turbines scattered over more than 30,000 acres. It's the largest wind farm in Michigan. Each 1.6 megawatt wind turbine can generate enough power for 350 homes.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">And this is what it sounds like when you stand directly beneath a wind turbine that stretches more than 450 feet into the sky with the wind blowing between 10 to 15 mph.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">(Listen below - You can hear the turbine slow down - I think it's neat, but I'm a nerd.)</span></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 15:44:39 +0000 Mark Brush 15437 at http://michiganradio.org This is what it sounds like inside Michigan's largest wind farm Scientists pushed to share their data sooner http://michiganradio.org/post/scientists-pushed-share-their-data-sooner <p>Some policymakers say scientists hold onto their data too long. They say by the time the information is released, it can miss the window for addressing pressing problems.</p><p>The federal government is urging scientists to share their data sooner, but good data is like gold to scientists.</p><p>It can solve a lingering puzzle, and lead to professional success. That's why some scientists are considered data hoarders. They protect the information they collect.</p><p>But in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021101">a recent survey</a> of over 1,300 scientists, Carol Tenopir found more of a spirit of collaboration than competition.</p><p>Tenopir participates in a National Science Foundation project called <a href="http://www.dataone.org/">DataOne</a>. Her job is to figure out how to overcome barriers to data sharing and broaden access to information.</p><p>Though only a small percentage of scientists said they actually share their data, she was surprised to find many are eager to do so.</p><p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 14:06:36 +0000 Julie Halpert 15365 at http://michiganradio.org Scientists pushed to share their data sooner The clock is ticking for a decision on Isle Royale's wolves http://michiganradio.org/post/clock-ticking-decision-isle-royales-wolves <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Wolves are doing fine in many parts of the Upper Midwest, so much so that people are <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12145_12205-32569--,00.html">hunting </a>them now.</span></p><p>But a protected population of wolves on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior has plummeted.</p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 18:17:38 +0000 Mark Brush 15344 at http://michiganradio.org The clock is ticking for a decision on Isle Royale's wolves