Environment & Science

Environment & Science
9:39 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Michigan DNR officials counter claims that bad info led to wolf hunt

A Gray Wolf
metassus / Flickr

Michigan wildlife officials are dismissing claims that bad information led to the state’s upcoming wolf hunt.

Opponents of the hunt are asking Governor Rick Snyder to suspend it based on a recent MLive report.   It raised questions about a number of alleged wolf encounters with humans, pets, and livestock in the U.P.

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Environment & Science
3:20 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

What fall smells like in Michigan and around the world

For many Michiganders, leaf smells are a major indicator of fall's arrival.
user hyperboreal Flickr

Wet leaves, cider, campfire — for many Michiganders, these are the smells of fall.

But our friends over at WNYC’s Radiolab wanted to get an idea of what autumn smells like all over the world.

So with the help of Google Maps and talented olfactory nerves, the Radiolab crew is compiling a map that highlight the scent of autumn around the U.S. and beyond.

Here are some the responses so far from Michigan. Leaves seem to be the big winner:

  • “Salt, smoke and sweet rotting apples”

  • “Leaf-burning, skunks”

  • “Cider spices and dead leaves”

  • “Cold, crispy leaves and firepits”

  • “Musky leaves”

And the rest of the world:

  • “Roasted chestnuts and sea salt” - Istanbul, Turkey

  • “Roasted chestnuts, cigarette smoke, wet asphalt, diesel fumes, fresh-baked bread” - Lyon, France

  • “Salt and damp seaweed” - Coronado, CA

  • “Its spring here [sic]” - Melbourne, Australia

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
4:41 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Will proposed regulations change fracking in Michigan?

A drilling rig used for fracking.
Eusko Jaurlaritza Flickr

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality proposed a list of new rules for hydraulic fracturing in the state — commonly known as fracking.

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.

So just what are these proposed new rules? And what could they mean to the future of fracking in Michigan?

James Clift is the policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. He joins us to discuss the new regulations.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Environment & Science
3:41 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Story of wolves shot on daycare property not true, Michigan State Senator apologizes

State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) apologizes for advancing a false story about wolves in the U.P.

Here's the wolf story as it appeared in a 2011 resolution asking Congress to remove federal protections for wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

Wolves appeared multiple times in the backyard of a day care center shortly after the children were allowed outside to play. Federal agents disposed of three wolves in that backyard because of the potential danger to the children

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The Environment Report
10:17 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Cities adapting to changing climate, but more changes coming

Credit courtesy: USEPA

It used to be environmentalists did not want to talk about adapting to climate change. They were concerned adapting to the changes meant dodging the big job of reducing greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

That thinking is changing.

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The Environment Report
10:07 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Michigan could get 30% of its energy from renewable sources

Michigan could be getting much more of its energy from renewable sources according to a report submitted to Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Public Service Commission has submitted a report on renewable energy to Governor Snyder. That report indicates renewable energy is getting cheaper and more varied, ranging from wind and solar to biomass and ground source heat pumps.

But the surprising point in the report was this statement:

“...it is theoretically technically feasible for Michigan to meet increased Renewable Portfolio Standards of as much as 30% from resources located in the state.”

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Environment & Science
8:42 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Enbridge will miss deadline to finish cleaning up 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill

The Kalamazoo River delta just north of Morrow Lake will take longer to clean up. Enbridge officials say clean up won't be done until 2014.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An oil pipeline company will miss the EPA’s year-end deadline to complete its cleanup of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill.

More than 800 thousand gallons of crude leaked from a pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy. The spill fouled more than 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

In March, federal regulators gave Enbridge until December 31st to finish removing the remaining submerged oil in the river.

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Stateside
4:31 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Rep. Kildee weighs in on proposed nuclear waste disposal facility on Lake Huron

Bruce Power Ontario Power Generation

Rebecca Williams of Michigan Radio's Environment Report first told you last year that Ontario Power Generation has proposed building a nuclear waste disposal facility at its Bruce Nuclear Power Site.

 The site near the city of Kincardine and would be located less than a mile from Lake Huron. If approved, the site would house 52 million gallons of low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Among those expressing alarm about this proposal are Congressman Sander Levin, Gary Peters, John Dingell, and my next guest, Congressman Dan Kildee, Democrat from Flint Township. *Listen to the audio above.

Environment & Science
4:31 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

MDNR official says he misspoke when talking about Michigan wolves

Al Warren

On yesterday's program, we spoke with MLive writer John Barnes about his series of stories this week on the upcoming managed-wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. The managed hunt is a first for Michigan.

 During the interview, John Barnes referred to a statement made by the MDNR's fur-bearer specialist, Adam Bump. In an interview last May with Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody, Bump told him about ways in which wolves were frightening residents of Ironwood, in the Upper Peninsula, but in speaking with John Barnes,Bump said he misspoke. Adam Bump joins us to explain just how that happened.

Stateside
4:30 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Where are the women in Michigan politics?

The chamber of Michigan's House of Representatives in Lansing. Leaders in the Michigan legislature and Governor Granholm are close to an agreement on the budget.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

On this Election Day - Here's a question worth exploring: where are the women in Michigan politics?

The number of women in the State Legislature has now dropped to a 20 year low.  There are only four women serving in the Senate, and 24 in the House.

And that puts Michigan at 36th in the nation in terms of female State Senators and Representatives.

And when you look to Washington, the gender ratio in Congress isn't much better.

Barb Byrum joined us today. She’s the Ingham County Clerk, and she served in the State House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013.

Environment & Science
3:08 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Michigan non-profit says it has cloned John Muir's giant sequoia

John Muir
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Michigan-based Archangel Ancient Tree Archive announced this week that it has successfully cloned a giant sequoia tree planted by renown conservationist John Muir.

About 130 years ago, Muir transplanted the tree from Yosemite to his home in Martinez, California.  Now 75 feet tall, the tree suffers from two fatal fungal diseases.

Archangel's co-founder David Milarch said a forester from the John Muir National Historic Site sent cuttings from the sick tree to Archangel.

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Environment & Science
12:48 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

'Lake Erie has 2% of the water in the Great Lakes, but 50% of the fish'

The 2011 algae bloom on Lake Erie. Significant blooms returned to Lake Erie around 2000-01. Researchers are looking into how these blooms affect fish.

The stat comes from Jeff Reutter, Director of Ohio State University's Stone Laboratory. He says the converse is true for Lake Superior. It holds 50% of the water, but just 2% of the fish.

It's a rough estimate, he says, but it gives you a good understanding of how each of the five Great Lakes have unique characteristics, which present unique challenges in managing these lakes.

As part of our series on how climate change is affecting the Great Lakes, Reutter spoke to us about how Lake Erie is especially vulnerable to temperature variations. It is the southernmost, and the shallowest of the five Great Lakes.

He also spoke about how, unlike the other four Great Lakes, Lake Erie is surrounded by agriculture and a more urbanized landscape.

You can listen to him speak about his "50 and 2 Rule" here:

Lake Erie has seen a resurgence in algal blooms over the last ten years. It was once a big problem in the 60s and 70s, and it has returned as a problem again.

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The Environment Report
9:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Michigan challenge to EPA greenhouse regulations to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate carbon emissions of coal-burning power plants and other smokestack industries. Michigan's Attorney General joined a lawsuit against the EPA that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Listen to The Environment Report.

The EPA says greenhouse gases are pollution. The Supreme Court has agreed. But Michigan sued the EPA saying you can’t regulate that pollution from smokestack industries because it would hurt the economy.

The Supreme Court has already ruled the EPA has the authority to regulate the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The agency found CO2 emissions from fossil fuels endanger the public health and the environment. That was regarding a case involving cars and trucks. But whether that pollution comes from a tailpipe or a smokestack, it’s the same pollution.

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Environment & Science
1:02 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Report calls reasons for Michigan wolf hunt 'half-truths and falsehoods'

A hearing held earlier this year in Lansing on a proposed wolf hunt in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

John Barnes, a reporter at MLive, described the reasons given for characterizing the push for a hunt in that way.

One falsehood he found was a quote given to Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources official last May.

Carmody wanted to know if the town of Ironwood, Michigan really was afraid of wolves, after State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) said the town was "living in fear" of the wolves.

Carmody spoke with Adam Bump, a Bear and Furbearer Speicialist with the MDNR. Here's what Bump said:

Bump now says he misspoke.

Michigan Radio tried to reach Bump for a comment, but he was not available to us.

During an interview on today's Stateside, John Barnes said Bump was confused during the interview.

"He was thinking about a separate incident that did not even occur in Michigan. It occurred in Denver. It had to do with a book he was reading, and he just tripped over his words, he says. And did not mean to infer that wolves are showing no fear of humans. In fact, we checked, and there's no such incident that has been recorded like that in the city of Ironwood. And Adam acknowledges that he made a mistake on that," said Barnes.

One farmer, many wolf kill reports

Barnes also writes about other problems with the argument for a hunt, including the fact that one farmer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula "accounted for more cattle killed and injured than all other farmers in the years the DNR reviewed."

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Stateside
4:10 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Forecaster says get your snow shovels ready

If you are in a part of Michigan that gets lake effect snow, you might want to get your snow shovel out from the back of the garage.

 MLive Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa thinks we could be in for an early dose of lake effect snow.

The Environment Report
9:22 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Scientists pushed to engage the public through social media

NCI

Environmental Health Sciences professor Andrew Maynard teaches one of the University of Michigan's only classes focused on blogging.

Here you can listen in on an exchange he has with his students:

Maynard says learning how to communicating online is a skill crucial to his students' professional success.

“I would say very strongly scientists should blog, and they should blog because it forces them to become very familiar with the state of the science in specific areas,” says Maynard.

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Environment & Science
9:00 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Cold wind, rain, hail don't keep people from Sandhill Cranes

Greater Sandhill Cranes at the Michigan Audubon Society's Haenle Sanctuary near Jackson.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

For some people it’s not geese flying south… or robins… but another much bigger bird that signals winter is on its way.

This past weekend a couple dozen or so people gathered in a remote area near Jackson to watch cranes, the Greater Sandhill Crane to be specific.

“Yeah! I thought it would be beautiful to see several hundred of them coming in at the same time. I think they’re gorgeous,” said Beth King from Durand.

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Energy
2:01 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Hearings this week to shape future of DTE’s proposed new nuclear reactor in Michigan

Fermi 2 sits near to Lake Erie in Monroe County.
James Yeo Creative Commons

This week, federal nuclear regulators will hold hearings related to DTE’s proposal to build another nuclear reactor in Monroe County. Plans submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2008 call for a roughly 1,500 megawatt reactor.

DTE wants to build Fermi 3 near Fermi 2. Fermi 2 has been operating in Frenchtown Township for 25 years. Fermi 1 partially melted down in the 1960s and was permanently closed in the early 1970s.

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Environment & Science
12:24 pm
Sat October 26, 2013

EPA plans cleanup of dioxin-tainted Tittabawassee River segment

Imerman Park sits on the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River. Signs along the trail warn walkers about dioxin contamination in some of the park's soil.
Shawn Allee/The Environment Report

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making plans for cleanup next year of a 4-mile-long segment of the Tittabawassee River contaminated with dioxin from a Dow Chemical Co. plant in Midland.

It's part of a multi-year strategy to remove tainted sediments from the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers that were polluted by water and air emissions from the plant from the late 1890s to the 1970s.

A 3-mile stretch near the plant was completed in September.

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The Environment Report
5:27 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Tracking Asian carp by what they leave behind

Asian carp at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
flickr Kate Gardiner

Audio for The Environment Report for Oct. 24th

There’s a lot of time, money and effort being spent to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

To keep them out, we first have to know where the carp are.

Biologists often go out and sample water from rivers and lakes to look for carp. They test the water for genetic material, and some of those tests have turned up positive for Asian carp.

Last year, 20 samples turned up positive hits in Lake Erie. The positive DNA hits raise alarm bells that an invasive carp species might be establishing a population in the Great Lakes.

But the presence of carp DNA does not mean an actual fish was swimming in that area.

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