michigan department of environmental quality http://michiganradio.org en Two of Michigan's biggest industrial polluters get "updated" permits http://michiganradio.org/post/two-michigans-biggest-industrial-polluters-get-updated-permits <p>State environmental officials have agreed to update air quality permits for two of the state’s biggest and most polluting industrial facilities.</p><p>Dearborn’s Marathon oil refinery and Dearborn’s Severstal steel plants have had trouble complying with their state permits in recent years.</p><p>The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality now agrees with the companies contention that some of the old standards were too strict. The updated permits relax some emissions rules, while strengthening others.</p> Mon, 12 May 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 17557 at http://michiganradio.org Two of Michigan's biggest industrial polluters get "updated" permits Proposed trout farm near “holy waters” of Au Sable River would be Michigan’s biggest http://michiganradio.org/post/proposed-trout-farm-near-holy-waters-au-sable-river-would-be-michigan-s-biggest <p>If you’re a fly fisherman, there are few rivers this side of the Rocky Mountains that compare with Michigan’s Au Sable River. There’s a particular nine-mile stretch east of Grayling <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10366_46403_63473-194797--,00.html">known as the Holy Waters.</a></p><p>The water is clean, cold, easy to wade through, and packed with more than 100 pounds of wild trout per acre.</p> Thu, 08 May 2014 13:24:27 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17521 at http://michiganradio.org Proposed trout farm near “holy waters” of Au Sable River would be Michigan’s biggest Lawmakers ask for EPA oversight at Dearborn steel mill, call state permitting process "tainted" http://michiganradio.org/post/lawmakers-ask-epa-oversight-dearborn-steel-mill-call-state-permitting-process-tainted <p>Two state lawmakers are calling on the US Environmental Protection Agency to step in and help regulate a Dearborn steel mill.</p><p>State Representatives Rashida Tlaib and George Darany say the state can no longer be trusted to oversee and enforce environmental laws against the Severstal steel facility.</p> Wed, 07 May 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 17504 at http://michiganradio.org Lawmakers ask for EPA oversight at Dearborn steel mill, call state permitting process "tainted" More Michigan officials seek assurances on pipeline in Straits of Mackinac http://michiganradio.org/post/more-michigan-officials-seek-assurances-pipeline-straits-mackinac <p>TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's attorney general and chief environmental regulator have asked the company that owns two oil pipelines stretched beneath an ecologically sensitive area of the Great Lakes for evidence that the 61-year-old lines are properly maintained and in good condition.</p><p>Attorney General Bill Schuette and Dan Wyant, director of the state Department of Environmental Quality, posed a lengthy series of questions and requested stacks of documentation in a letter sent Tuesday to Enbridge Inc. and made public Wednesday. They said the pipelines, which run beneath the Straits of Mackinac — the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan — pose a unique safety risk.</p><p>"Because of where they are, any failure will have exceptional, indeed catastrophic effects," their letter said. "And because the magnitude of the resulting harm is so great, there is no margin for error. It is imperative we pursue a proactive, comprehensive approach to ensure this risk is minimized, and work together to prevent tragedy before it strikes." Wed, 30 Apr 2014 21:44:27 +0000 The Associated Press 17431 at http://michiganradio.org More Michigan officials seek assurances on pipeline in Straits of Mackinac Michigan proposes updates to "fracking" rules for oil and gas drillers http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-proposes-updates-fracking-rules-oil-and-gas-drillers <p>The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is proposing changes to their rules for oil and gas drilling in the state.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">MDEQ&nbsp;leaders say they've had a successful record regulating the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the state for more than five decades, but new practices by the oil and gas industry are leading to the rule changes.</span></p> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 21:04:08 +0000 Mark Brush & Lindsey Smith 17404 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan proposes updates to "fracking" rules for oil and gas drillers 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? Paperwork coming together to remove White Lake from list of toxic hot spots in Great Lakes region http://michiganradio.org/post/paperwork-coming-together-remove-white-lake-list-toxic-hot-spots-great-lakes-region <p>An inland lake north of Muskegon that was once one of the most polluted places surrounding the Great Lakes is making big progress. Most of the pollution in <a href="http://epa.gov/greatlakes/aoc/whitelake/index.html">White Lake was caused by a chemical company</a> that dumped waste into the water decades ago.</p><p>Efforts to clean the leftover chemicals from the environment have been underway since the late 1980s.</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17097 at http://michiganradio.org Paperwork coming together to remove White Lake from list of toxic hot spots in Great Lakes region Dearborn steel mill wants state to loosen emission limits, neighbors worry http://michiganradio.org/post/dearborn-steel-mill-wants-state-loosen-emission-limits-neighbors-worry <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfHT97w_awY</p><p>A Dearborn steel plant wants the state to let it <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20140311/NEWS02/303110023/Severstal-Dearborn-toxin-levels">legally emit more air pollution</a>, a prospect that doesn’t sit well with many of the people who live nearby.</p><p>The massive,<a href="http://www.severstalna.com/eng/about/locations_capabilities/index.phtml"> 350-acre&nbsp;Severstal steel complex </a>sits in a heavily industrial area along the Dearborn-Detroit border. It’s been cited 37 times for violating its current state air quality permit.</p><p>But Severstal thinks that permit was too strict. In its new permit application, the company wants the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to raise the emissions cap for a number of pollutants, including lead and carbon monoxide.</p><p>That angers many south Dearborn residents, like Norieah Ahmed. Speaking at a packed public hearing on the proposed new rules this week, Ahmed said her community already suffers from too much pollution.</p><p>“We cannot allow for an increase in permitted levels simply because Severstal once again can’t meet those standards,” Ahmed said. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 16928 at http://michiganradio.org Where to pile all that record snowfall from January? DEQ weighs in http://michiganradio.org/post/where-pile-all-record-snowfall-january-deq-weighs <p>It was a snowy January in Michigan; the s<a href="http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dtx/?n=snowiestjanuary2014">nowiest on record for Flint and Detroit, according the the National Weather Service.</a></p><p>“We’ve had our fair share too, that’s for sure,” said Jared Sanders, assistant district supervisor of the Kalamazoo district’s water resources division. The division is a part of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality.</p><p>I can vouch for it; huge piles of plowed snow are filling up the parking lots of many businesses here in Grand Rapids too.</p> Sun, 02 Feb 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16263 at http://michiganradio.org Where to pile all that record snowfall from January? DEQ weighs in The case of the mysterious rocks and signs related to the Kalamazoo River oil spill http://michiganradio.org/post/case-mysterious-rocks-and-signs-related-kalamazoo-river-oil-spill <p>In case you’re new in town, three and a half years ago an Enbridge pipeline broke, <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/kalamazoo-river-oil-spill">causing a huge oil spill </a>near Marshall, Michigan.</p><p><strong>The case of the mystery rocks</strong></p><p>A couple of years ago, I met Craig Ritter while doing some reporting on the river cleanup.</p><p>He’s your typical, passionate, Michigan out-of-doors type.</p><p>He says he was out fishing last summer.</p><p>“I started noticing these weird formations that I’d never seen before,” Ritter said.</p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:16:24 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16241 at http://michiganradio.org The case of the mysterious rocks and signs related to the Kalamazoo River oil spill Big changes are coming to wetland regulations in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/big-changes-are-coming-wetland-regulations-michigan <p>Michigan has <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/wrd-waterwords-2013-10-08_436561_7.pdf">lost millions of acres of wetlands </a>over the last century. But the state’s still got roughly five million acres left.&nbsp;</p><p>“Wetlands are really, really important to clean water. They’ve been called nature’s nurseries and nature’s kidneys,” said Grenetta Thomassey, who heads <a href="http://www.watershedcouncil.org/">Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council </a>in Petoskey.</p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:30:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 15575 at http://michiganradio.org Big changes are coming to wetland regulations in Michigan Many Michigan agencies lose 2014 beach monitoring funds http://michiganradio.org/post/many-michigan-agencies-lose-2014-beach-monitoring-funds <p>TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - About three dozen local health departments and other agencies that usually receive state funding to monitor beach waters for contamination won't get any next year.<br /><br />The funding comes from the federal government. Michigan will get $152,000 in 2014.<br /><br />But a provision inserted into a state budget bill orders the Department of Environmental Quality to spend $100,000 of that money on one project in Macomb County.<br /> Sat, 23 Nov 2013 16:10:00 +0000 The Associated Press 15407 at http://michiganradio.org Many Michigan agencies lose 2014 beach monitoring funds Will proposed regulations change fracking in Michigan? http://michiganradio.org/post/will-proposed-regulations-change-fracking-michigan <p>Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality proposed a list of new rules for hydraulic fracturing in the state — commonly known as fracking.</p><p>Fracking is a process where developers pump high-pressure streams of water and chemicals into a well to clear a path to hard-to-reach deposits of natural gas.</p><p>So just what are these proposed new rules? And what could they mean to the future of fracking in Michigan?</p><p>James Clift is the policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. He joins us to discuss the new regulations.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.&nbsp;</em></p><p> Thu, 07 Nov 2013 21:41:00 +0000 Stateside Staff 15182 at http://michiganradio.org Will proposed regulations change fracking in Michigan? Michigan town looks forward to cleaning up mess left behind by chemical company http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-town-looks-forward-cleaning-mess-left-behind-chemical-company <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Forty years ago a chemical mix-up led to one of Michigan’s worst environmental tragedies, and it’s not over yet.</span></p><p>The mix-up occurred in early 1973 at the former Michigan Chemical Corporation plant (which later became the Vesicol&nbsp;Chemical Corporation) in St. Louis, Mich. The company accidentally shipped flame-retardant chemicals to livestock farms around the state.</p><p>Farmers thought they were getting a feed supplement. Instead, they were dosing their animals with the toxic chemical <a href="http://www.epa.gov/fedfac/pdf/technical_fact_sheet_pbde_pbb.pdf">PBB</a>.</p><p>The problem wasn’t discovered for another year -- and the chemicals were passed up the food chain to humans. Thu, 17 Oct 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith & Mark Brush 14869 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan town looks forward to cleaning up mess left behind by chemical company Enbridge Energy could face fines after incident with pipeline that's under construction http://michiganradio.org/post/enbridge-energy-could-face-fines-after-incident-pipeline-thats-under-construction <p>Enbridge Energy has until July 31<sup>st</sup> to submit a plan to resolve problems with its new oil pipeline. The line will span much of lower Michigan once completed. It’ll replace the one that burst in 2010, causing the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.</p><p>Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality<a href="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/michigan/files/201307/Violation_Notice_213061_v1.doc"> cited a dozen violations</a> of the conditions of a water discharge permit.</p><p>MDEQ investigated the site in Livingston County’s Tyrone Township after a video surfaced online of reddish colored hydrostatic test water spewing into North Ore Creek.</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XKoYuTQi7o</p><p>MDEQ found Enbridge didn’t have someone on site overseeing the tests on the pipeline. Water sampling and testing wasn’t done as required. There was too much oil and grease discharged, among other issues. Wed, 03 Jul 2013 21:42:37 +0000 Lindsey Smith 13375 at http://michiganradio.org How to build houses that don't harm Michigan's 'critical dune areas' http://michiganradio.org/post/how-build-houses-dont-harm-michigans-critical-dune-areas <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Over 70,000 acres of dunes are recognized as "critical dunes," out of the 275,000 acres of dunes in the state of Michigan. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 1976, the Michigan Legislature created the Sand Dune Protection and Management Act.</span></p><p>A small book was published this summer by the Michigan Department for Environmental Quality illustrating ways to safely build homes in these critical dune areas.</p><p>MDEQ teamed up with an organization called&nbsp;<a href="http://sosdunes.org/blog/?page_id=2" target="_blank">Preserve the Dunes</a>.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Preserve the Dunes is a non-profit that was started in 1997 in Van Buren and&nbsp;</span>Berrien<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;Counties. The group has </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">sponsored two competitions recognizing homes built in critical dune areas.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Critical Dunes Residential Design Awards were awarded in 2006 and again in 2012.&nbsp;</span></p><p></p><p> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 18:11:13 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13264 at http://michiganradio.org How to build houses that don't harm Michigan's 'critical dune areas' In this morning's news: High childhood poverty rate, home foreclosure changes, beach quality better http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-high-childhood-poverty-rate-home-foreclosure-changes-beach-quality-better <p><strong>Childhood poverty rate high in Michigan</strong></p><p>This year’s <a href="http://www.mlpp.org/kids-count">Kids Count report</a> from the Michigan League for Public Policy and the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Michigan ranks 31st nationwide for overall child well-being. Michigan League for Public Policy President Gilda Jacobs told Michigan Radio's Jake Neher that state lawmakers should restore Michigan’s tax credits for low-income families and ease restrictions on welfare cash assistance.</p><p><strong>Possible changes in home foreclosure rules</strong></p><p>Legislation in Lansing could change home foreclosure rules in Michigan. Currently, after a foreclosure, homeowners get six months after it gets sold at auction to regain the property. Under the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/proposed-changes-michigan-s-home-foreclosure-laws-allow-unannounced-inspections">proposed changes</a>, a homeowner would lose that redemption period if the house is damaged. The idea is to stop homeowners going through foreclosure from damaging the home.<br><br>Neeta Delaney, director of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force, told Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith she worries the provision would only make the foreclosure process more contentious.</p><p><strong>Michigan beachgoers lost 755 days of water access</strong></p><p>The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's annual <a href="http://www.deq.state.mi.us/beach/">beach quality report</a> says Michigan beachgoers lost 755 days of water access in 2012 because of pollution. The most common cause for beach closings was the presence of bacteria from human or animal feces. Altogether, 166 beaches were closed for a total of 755 days in 2012. That's down from 913 days&nbsp; in 2011.</p><p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 11:05:20 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13203 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news: High childhood poverty rate, home foreclosure changes, beach quality better Michigan DEQ approves stream, wetlands permit for UP mine http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-deq-approves-stream-wetlands-permit-mine <p>IRONWOOD, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has tentatively approved the last major permit needed for construction of a copper and silver mine in the western Upper Peninsula.<br><br>The permit deals with protection of wetlands, inland lakes and streams. It will become final after being signed by Orvana Minerals Corp. and state officials.<br> Sat, 23 Feb 2013 04:54:00 +0000 The Associated Press 11384 at http://michiganradio.org Cleaning up a big, underground mess in Michigan (PHOTOS) http://michiganradio.org/post/cleaning-big-underground-mess-michigan-photos <p>There are around 4,800 gas stations in Michigan, but at one time, there were a lot more. It seemed like just about every corner had a gas station on it.</p><p>Many of those gas stations are closed now, but taxpayers are often on the hook for what’s been left behind.</p><p>I visited one of these polluted sites recently with representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The heavy traffic along State Route 89 near Battle Creek makes it a perfect place for a gas station.</p><p>And for a long time, things were going well for Logan’s Gas and Deli.</p> Thu, 20 Sep 2012 14:10:06 +0000 Mark Brush 9163 at http://michiganradio.org Cleaning up a big, underground mess in Michigan (PHOTOS) Little support for twin span, but Ambassador Bridge owners still push to keep permit http://michiganradio.org/post/little-support-twin-span-ambassador-bridge-owners-still-push-keep-permit <p>The owners of the Ambassador Bridge are <a href="http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/08/23/environmental-permit-for-bridges-twin-span-expires/">trying to renew an environmental permit for a proposed twin span</a>.</p><p>The twin span idea has been rejected by both Governor Snyder and Canadian officials. <a href="http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/08/23/environmental-permit-for-bridges-twin-span-expires/">They’ve already signed a deal</a> to build a new bridge, the so-called New International Trade Crossing, further downriver.</p> Sat, 25 Aug 2012 00:29:44 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 8817 at http://michiganradio.org Little support for twin span, but Ambassador Bridge owners still push to keep permit