Category Archives: Federal Government

Bipartisan bills would allow ailing inmates to be released on parole

Medically frail inmates would be considered for parole under bipartisan bills in the state House.

Inmates would undergo an evaluation by a physician chosen by the Department of Corrections. If granted parole, supporters say sick prisoners would be transferred to other facilities that are better equipped to treat them. Continue reading

El Niño could impact Great Lakes water levels

GreatLakesThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration met with other federal entities this month to discuss the future of Great Lakes water levels.

Drew Gronewold is a hydrologist with NOAA. Continue reading

Soo Locks economic study receives federal funding

After more than a year of effort, the federal government has approved funding for a study to examine the economic impact of adding a new lock in Sault Ste Marie.

Currently only the Poe Lock can handle the largest vessels, which carry a majority of the iron ore on the Great Lakes. Continue reading

German ship held in port

A German ship flying the Liberian flag is being held in a Great Lakes port while the Coast Guard investigates possible environmental violations.

The ship Cornelia traveled from New York to Minnesota. It likely traversed all the Great Lakes except Lake Michigan.

The Cornelia has been retained for over 2 weeks at the Duluth port on Lake Superior.

Lieutenant Pat Lammersen is with the Coast Guard. He said there’s not much he can reveal about the investigation.

“Outside the Duluth lift bridge in Lake Superior it’s anchored up, all I can say is that the Coast Guard is investigating the motor vessel Cornelia for alleged violations of U.S environmental regulations.”

Lammersen said the ship and it’s crew are not a threat to public safety.

“The Liberian flag vessel and crew are prohibited from leaving the Duluth until cleared by customs and border protection. Vessel and crew do not pose any public safety threat. Any speculation that the ship is being held in port due to safety concerns is not true.”

The ship’s crew is not allowed to leave the vessel until the investigation is over.

Sault tribe receives $300K for education programs

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians recently received over a quarter million dollars from the federal government to bolster their education programs. Continue reading

Waters of the United States rule faces copious amounts of scrutiny

Logo of the EPA

Logo of the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS, is facing heavy scrutiny from around the country.

WOTUS is intended to clarify which water bodies are protected by the Clean Water Act. Instead it’s prompted a heated debate.
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U.S Forest Service passes some logging responsibilities to MDNR

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has agreed to pick up some forest management responsibilities from the federal government.

The agreement will give the DNR logging rights in three Michigan national forests.
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Asian carp closer to Great Lakes than ever

Silver Carp drawing courtesy of the DNR

Silver Carp drawing courtesy of the DNR

Asian carp were found within 80 miles of the Great Lakes, roughly 60 miles closer than they were at the beginning of this year.

Two juvenile Silver Carp, a type of Asian carp, were found in the Illinois River. The fish have been steadily making their way north over the last several years. Continue reading

Northern Michigan fish hatchery under inspection from OSHA

Pendills Creek Fishery in Brimley recently underwent an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection for the first time.

The inspection dug up 11 serious violations that needed to be addressed.
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Coast Guard working to halt leak from shipwreck in Lake Erie

The U.S Coast Guard has set up a perimeter around a shipwreck that is leaking fuel into Lake Erie.

It’s believed to be the biggest environmental threat posed by a shipwreck to the Great Lakes.

The Coast Guard said the Argo was carrying 100,000 gallons of crude oil, and another lighter fuel, when it went down in 1937. Continue reading

Michigan DEQ admits to mistakes handling Flint water crisis

mdeqThe Department of Environmental Quality has released a statement admitting they made a mistake in handling the recent Flint water crisis.

DEQ representatives said they mishandled the testing of Flint’s drinking water. They were holding the city to guidelines meant for a town with half of Flint’s population. Continue reading

Reservist says village discriminated against him for military service

6th Circuit Court of AppealsIt’s starting to look like a military reservist could get his day in court. He says authorities in the village of Vicksburg near Kalamazoo discriminated against him because of his military service.
The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for David Eichaker (EYE’-ay-ker). He was an officer in the Vicksburg Police Department who sometimes served as the acting chief when his boss was away on military reserve duty.
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Three Michigan species considered for national endangered list

Woodturtle, Courtesy of the DNR

Woodturtle, Courtesy of the DNR

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is studying whether or not to add three Michigan species to the National Endangered list.

The Rusty-patched Bumblebee and the Regal Fritillary, which is a butterfly, are under consideration along with the Wood Turtle.

Georgia Parham is a Public Affairs Manager for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. She said that although they’re small, insects are important species.

“I think it’s interesting that we have a couple insects in this group of species, both of which are pollinators. Pollinators and other species are very important to lots of different kinds of things. We sometimes get the question, ‘Well, what does it matter if we lose a species of Butterfly or a Bumblebee or something like that.’ I think it’s important to think about the big picture and the roles that these insects play in the pollination of not only wildflowers but agricultural crops as well.”

She said this is the beginning of a long road to get on the list.

“It is a long process. Or it can be…Depending on how many resources we have and what kind of information we need. Some species are very local and it’s not as difficult to gather information about them. Some of ‘em are very wide ranging and it takes time to collect information that accurately reflects its status.”

Both of the insects have been petitioned for the list in the past, but didn’t make it on. The Wood Turtle is already listed as threatened in Michigan.

Tittabawassee River cleanup continues to keep community content

RiverLast nights Saginaw Community Action Group meeting with the EPA went well according to Dave Sommers, the President of the group. Community members gave their recommendations for cleanup of the next segment of the Tittabawassee River.

In short, they encouraged the EPA to keep doing what it’s doing.
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Republicans dream of winning at Mackinac conference

logo-GOPMany Michigan Republicans spent the weekend on Mackinac Island, where they enjoyed fine dining and cocktail receptions, listened to the campaign pitches of five presidential candidates, and plotted the future of their party.

And it was done mostly without the rancor that’s marked other Republican gatherings in recent years.
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Former Ambassador Pickering voices support for Iran deal

Ambassador Thomas Pickering

Ambassador Thomas Pickering

Congress has a little over a month left to approve or reject the nuclear agreement negotiated between the Obama Administration and Iran.

One prominent U.S. diplomat is lending his name to the approval effort: Thomas Pickering. He’s the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Russia and Jordan, and was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the first Gulf War. Continue reading