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Environment & Science

deer
mwanner_wc / creative commons

One deer in Genesee County has tested positive for epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory and the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory say the free-ranging white-tailed deer died from the disease, which can be found in wild ruminants such as white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk.

One of the anchors used to hold Line 5 in place under the Straits of Mackinac.
Screen shot of a Ballard Marine inspection video / Enbridge Energy

Monday's meeting of the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board was filled with worry about the condition of Line 5, the two 64-year-old Enbridge pipelines carrying oil and liquid natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge recently revealed there are areas of the pipeline where the protective coating has worn off. At first, the company said the areas were "Band-Aid" sized. But then, the story changed.

The Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The state pipeline safety board met for the first time Monday since it was revealed that Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline had lost some of its coating.

The controversial pipeline sends oil and liquid natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac. The board was updated on the coating issue. But it’s waiting on a plan and repair schedule from Enbridge before deciding what to do next. 

The board did recommend state universities start a new study on the risks of the pipeline.

Congressman Fred Upton
Republican Conference / Flickr

The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected an amendment to cut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by nearly 25%. The cut would have reduced the EPA budget by nearly $2 billion.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined Stateside to talk about why he voted against the proposal. Upton said the budget cut would have ended vital programs that protect the Great Lakes.

security camera
CWCS Managed Hosting / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


You are being tracked. Your actions are being tracked by government, retailers, credit agencies, social media, and it all goes much deeper than you might realize. 

Jonathan Weinberg, a professor of law at Wayne State University, joined Stateside host Lester Graham to discuss the state of surveillance on the average person today, and where it might go in the future.

Asian carp jumping out of water
michiganoutofdoors.com

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting in Muskegon last night on its $275.4 million plan to keep invasive fish species out of the Great Lakes.

A recent study found that electric barriers and complex noises, like the sound of boat motors, are the most effective ways to keep certain fish away. So the plan to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan includes both.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

Michigan’s energy chief says Enbridge downplayed the significance of damage to the protective coating on its oil and gas pipeline that runs under the Mackinac Straits.

Parts of the coating were removed while workers installed safety anchors on a portion of Line 5 that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The patches where the metal was scraped bare are close to a foot in diameter. That's much larger than Enbridge initially reported.

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court

The number of state and federal lawsuits related to climate change has been on the rise since 2006.

Sabrina McCormick is an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at The George Washington University Miliken Institute School of Public Health. She's the lead author of a study in the journal Science that finds the role of climate science in court is changing.

The Great Lakes from space.
NASA

The Next Idea

One afternoon while waiting for my flight to board, a headline caught my eye: “Civilization-Destroying Comets Are More Common Than We Thought.” I assumed it was one of those flashy clickbait attention-grabbers like the ones about how researchers have discovered how you can lose ten pounds just by drinking dandelion tea. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t one of those smarmy websites you’ve never heard of. It was Popular Mechanics. Yes, that do-it-yourself periodical for the pocket-protector jet set that has all the panache of your dad’s brown shoes. So why the hyperbole?

Amanda Bevan in front of a crowd of people
Courtesy of Renee Voit-Porath

 


Bats have a PR problem. They’re so associated with blood sucking and horror films, a lot of people want nothing to do with them.

That makes it hard to get people to care when they're in trouble, said Amanda Bevan, head of the Urban Bat Project and education specialist at the Organization for Bat Conservation.

That's a problem because right now, bats are in some pretty serious trouble. In the past decade, a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome has killed 80 percent of the bats in the northeastern United States.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major dredging project in the Flint River remains on schedule.

Consumers Energy is paying to remove tons of coal tar waste along a third of a mile stretch of the river in downtown Flint. The coal tar waste is the legacy of a gasification plant that closed almost a century ago. 

Consumers spokesman Kevin Keane says crews recently started using a so-called “moon pool” as part of the dredging work.

“The moon pool is used to contain excavations in the river and it collects sheen and sediments that otherwise might travel over the dam,” says Keane.

Ciccone Vineyard & Winery
lincolnblues / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Driving along the Michigan shoreline often means passing vineyard after vineyard.

That made listener Blake Trombley wonder, so he submitted this question to our MI Curious project:

"Why are so many of Michigan's vineyards located on the coast?"

Smallmouth bass
micropterus_dolomieu / Wikimedia commons

Antidepressants that people take are building up in the brains of fish like walleye, bass, and perch. Researchers studied fish from the Niagara River, which connects lakes Erie and Ontario.

Chesapeake Bay Program / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Casting a fishing line into the water is just about as Michigan as you can get. And for some families, it's a legacy passed down through generations.

It might be easy to take fishing in Michigan for granted. But nearly sixty years ago, a group of fishing fanatics got together near the Au Sable River to ensure that trout-fishing in Michigan would remain strong for years to come.

That group was--and is still--called Trout Unlimited.

Sara Bird / Michigan Tech

Earthworms seem pretty harmless. But they’re causing problems for Michigan’s multi-million dollar sugar maple industry.

That’s the finding of a study by Tara Bal, a research assistant professor of forest resources and environmental science at Michigan Technological University.

Women walk wearing banners that say "Water Protector" and "Defend the Sacred"
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Chants of "Mni wiconi" (meaning "water is life" in Lakota) punctuated the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk on Labor Day, where tens of thousands of Michigan residents made the five-mile trek from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City.

Indigenous and environmental activists came from around the state for a full weekend of events calling for the shutdown of Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline. The 64-year-old pipeline runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac and carries up to 540,000 barrels of oil per day.

A boy wears special glasses to view the eclipse
Adam Fagen / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Grand Valley State University's Regional Math and Science Center is collecting eclipse glasses for a 2019 total solar eclipse that will be visible from the Pacific Ocean to parts of South America.

The Holland Sentinel reports that glasses used to view the sun during the August 21 eclipse over a long stretch of the United States will be sent to schools in South America and Asia through Astronomers Without Borders.

Invasive plant Japanese stiltgrass
Tom Potterfield / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state Department of Natural Resources says an invasive grass from Asia has been found in Michigan for first time.

The DNR said Friday that Japanese stiltgrass was recently found on private property in Scio Township, near Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County.

The invasive plant originates in Asia and is a thin, bamboo-like grass with jointed stems and well-spaced leaves.

The DNR is asking landowners and others spending time outdoors to be on the lookout for Japanese stiltgrass and to report its location to the state agency.

picture of a peregrine falcon
Flickpicpete / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The pesticide DDT was responsible for wiping out large populations of top predator birds in Michigan and across the country. One of the most well known was the bald eagle whose eggs, thinned by the pesticide, cracked during incubation.

DDT was banned in the 1970s and raptors — with some help from wildlife biologists — started to make a comeback.

The historic Whitney Mansion
Levin Energy Partners

The 123-year old Whitney Mansion wastes a lot of electricity. But now the Detroit icon is going green. Let's just hope the ghost living there is okay with it.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

The state is ordering Enbridge Energy to take swift action to fix portions of the Line 5 energy pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge reported to the state that small portions of enamel coating were accidentally removed in two places. The coating protects the oil and gas line that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac from corrosion.

Melody Kindraka of the state Department of Environmental Quality says there’s no immediate threat to the Great Lakes, but it’s concerning that the problem was the result of human error.

water faucet
Laura Nawrocik / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is investigating whether a shoe manufacturer is responsible for water contamination in West Michigan.

In the 1960s, Wolverine Worldwide used a licensed dump site near Rockford to get rid of waste from its leather tanning process. Two chemicals used in the process, PFOS and PFOA, are now showing up in nearby residential wells.

Bloody red shrimp under a dissecting scope
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab

Around the Great Lakes, millions of dollars are spent to fight invasive species like Asian carp. But when scientists find a new animal or plant in the area, it’s not always clear if it’s harmful or helpful.

D. Weckerle

Some of the most toxic chemicals used in industry are treated and temporarily held at the US Ecology plant on the Hamtramck-Detroit border, and plans to expand it tenfold have raised fears for neighbors and environmentalists.

According to Samuel Brinton of the American Nuclear Society, there are more than 75,000 metric tons of nuclear waste in storage all over the country.
daveynin / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The nuclear power industry has a problem. It has no way to dispose of spent nuclear fuel rods, which are high-level nuclear waste.

Since 1987, the plan was a facility in Nevada known as Yucca Mountain. The Obama administration basically put that project on hold. 

Now the Trump administration indicates Yucca Mountain is back on the agenda. In the president’s proposed budget, $120 million is set aside for restarting the approval process. And, earlier this month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted two to one to begin "information gathering activities" related to the proposed nuclear waste depository site.

Flyfisherman Dave McCool casts to catch a common carp on Grand Traverse Bay.
Courtesy of Dave McCool

Common carp have been in Michigan since the late 1800s. They’re not considered an invasive species because they’ve been around so long. Many people consider them to be a “trash fish,” but flyfishing for carp is very popular in northern Michigan.

A cyanobacteria; bloom on Lake Erie in 2013.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

There’s a green bloom of cyanobacteria on Lake Erie again. People who run water utilities and scientists are watching the bloom because the cyanobacteria can produce toxins called microcystins that are dangerous for people and pets. It's what made Toledo’s drinking water unsafe to drink in 2014.

Chris Winslow directs Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory. He says the bloom’s covering about 10% of the western basin.

Courtesy of Romeo Durscher / NASA

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina.

Fourteen states are in the path of total darkness.

Follow the astronomical phenomenon's journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

Our live blog will start at around 10 a.m. and end around 3 p.m.

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Katie Park and Leanne Abraham/NPR / Source: NASA

The excitement has been building for weeks and weeks. On Monday, August 21st the solar eclipse will finally be here. It will darken the skies along a path from Oregon to South Carolina. It's the first eclipse that will be seen from coast to coast in 99 years. Millions will don special glasses or watch through pinhole projectors. Eclipse enthusiasts say totality never disappoints.

Follow this live updating map tracking the position of the eclipse across the United States. The map will be live starting around 10 a.m. and end around 3 p.m.

Courtesy Photo / Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

A necropsy (basically an autopsy for a fish) of the eight-pound Asian carp found just nine miles from the Great Lakes is finished. It shows that the fish was born and raised in central Illinois; proof for some that the barrier isn’t strong enough.

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