environmental protection agency

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

More than a hundred people, a dozen strollers and a few dogs lined up and marched about halfway around the Allied landfill site in Kalamazoo Wednesday night chanting – “What do we want? Cleanup! When do we want it? Now!”

It isn’t a typical landfill. It’s where a paper mill dumped decades-worth of waste that’s laced with cancer-causing chemicals.

Everyone here wants the pile gone. They don’t care if it’s the most expensive option and the company that owned the site went bankrupt.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Kalamazoo are rallying to get rid of a major dump site that contains cancer causing waste.

Imagine decades’ worth of wood pulp and grey clay waste from the paper mill industry. There are 1.5 million cubic yards of it and it’s laced with polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs.

Now, plop it in the middle of a neighborhood.

Sarah Hill lives a little more than a mile away from what neighbors have dubbed "Mount PCB."

Some environmental groups aren't on board with the SS Badger

May 1, 2013
user Wigwam Jones / Flickr

The SS Badger has been making the four-hour run from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin since 1953. It's the last coal-fired ferry in the United States and annually attracts some 100,000 passengers.

The ferry is an important aspect of life in Ludington. It brings tourists, which means jobs and income for the small town.

However, there are growing concerns among environmental groups. Now, the Badger can potentially dump up to four tons of coal ash slurry directly into Lake Michigan on its route. This is legal due to an EPA permit that allows the Badger to continue this practice, but that permit is now under review. If the permit is cut, the Badger's days are coming to an end.

David Kinsey / Creative Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working to clean up toxic chemicals along an 80 mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River. But Kalamazoo city leaders aren’t happy with the federal agency's proposed plan.

The effort is focused on cleaning up toxic chemicals, known as PCBs, left behind from several paper mills.

The EPA wants to consolidate the material and cap it so water cannot get in.

State of Michigan / EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency says more dredging is needed to remove submerged oil in parts of the Kalamazoo River.   The oil is from a massive spill in 2010. 

It’s been two and half years since a pipeline ruptured near Marshall, spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil that eventually fouled about forty miles of the Kalamazoo River.

The EPA says more than a million gallons of oil have been recovered since the cleanup began.  But the agency says there’s still more oil submerged in the river. 

Tonight the Environmental Protection Agency will host a public meeting in Benton Harbor. The federal agency wants to update the community on its efforts to clean up a 17 acre site that’s now part of the Harbor Shores golf course.

Nefertiti DiCosmo is the remedial project manager of the site, known as the former Aircraft Components site, for the EPA. She says they want to get public feedback and provide an update on the EPA’s work.

Crews use "stingers" to pump water into the sediment and flush oil to the surface.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told Canadian energy company Enbridge today that more work is needed to clean up the Kalamazoo River.

The cleanup is part of an ongoing effort to remove oil from the river after a pipeline ruptured in 2010, resulting in the largest inland, freshwater oil spill in U.S. history.

Federal regulators specified that further action is needed upstream of Ceresco Dam, upstream of the Battle Creek Dam, and in the delta upstream of Morrow Lake.

Dredging on the River Raisin. A mechanical dredge removing material on July 11, 2012.

High levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been uncovered during a cleanup in the River Raisin, reports Charles Slat of the Monroe News:

Readings upwards of 10,000 parts per billion — some of the highest levels initially found during a 2007 partial clean-up at the site — also have been found during the recent dredging.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

More than a hundred scientists from Michigan are supporting a federal standard that would limit the amount of mercury coal plants could emit.

The State of Michigan already has set some limits. But a major portion of the mercury that ends up in Michigan comes from coal plants in other states.

There are some U.S. Senators trying to stop federal regulators from implementing the rules. They say the regulations will hurt the economy.

David Sommerstein / The Environment Report

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Environmental groups say they may renew a legal battle if the federal government doesn't toughen proposed regulations of ship ballast water that has brought invasive species such as zebra mussels to the Great Lakes.

Groups have gone to court twice to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to crack down on ballast water disposal. The agency now requires ships to exchange the water at sea. In November, EPA proposed requiring vessels to install equipment that would kill at least some organisms remaining in the tanks.

The rule is based on an international standard that shippers say is the best they can do with existing technology.

But environmental groups said Tuesday the rules aren't strong enough to prevent more species invasions and they may sue again unless EPA toughens them.

SS Badger
wikimedia commons

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) - Federal regulators will let operators of the passenger ferry S.S. Badger apply for a permit to continue dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan.

The Badger typically puts more than 500 tons of waste ash into the lake every year during its crossings between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis. The Environmental Protection Agency previously set a December deadline for the company to stop the practice.

The Ludington Daily News reports that EPA on Tuesday told Badger operators they could apply to continue the dumping as they study ways to convert the ship to burn natural gas.

Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga tells The Muskegon Chronicle that the Badger is a historic vessel that provides jobs on both sides of the lake.

Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan also praised the EPA decision.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given Enbridge Inc. until Oct. 20 to submit revised plans for additional cleanup work from a July 2010 Michigan pipeline leak that spilled more than 800,000 gallons of gasoline into a Michigan river system.

On Sept. 26, the Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge said it was increasing its estimate of the cleanup cost by about 20 percent to $700 million.

The EPA issued the order Thursday, saying the cleanup of the submerged oil is expected to last through 2012.

The spill was discovered July 26, 2010 and polluted the Kalamazoo River system in the Marshall area, from Talmadge Creek to Morrow Lake. The pipeline runs from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Seven Michigan communities are getting help from the federal government to clean up contaminated industrial sites.   Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson says her agency is awarding brownfield cleanup grants to Lansing, Albion, Inkster, Northville and three other Michigan communities.   

The grants total $2.9 million.