Part of a bill in the U.S. senate to renew road funding would also add smart infrastructure across the country and business to Michigan.
Originally the EPA thought the contamination from the plant could be contained within the borders of the site. However, years after the initial cleanup, EPA officials determined this wasn’t the case. Continue reading
The field is contaminated with chemicals that came from the Pine River. Continue reading
A new regional coordinator program will ensure that some 660,000 Michigan veterans and their dependents have easier access to services.
Through the program, veterans have access to a system of coordinated services right in their own communities.
After more than 20 years, restoration work on the St. Mary’s River in the Eastern Upper Peninsula is nearly complete
Scientists from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality plan to remove a blockage from the river which they say will help restore roughly seventy (70) acres of prime sport fishing area.
The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same sex marriage has caused immediate reaction around Michigan, both for and against.
Several same sex couples lined up first thing this morning at their local clerk’s office, ready to receive a license.
About 230,000 Michiganders receive the federal healthcare subsidies upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.
A number of state officials cheered the ruling. They say losing the subsidies would likely have meant higher premiums for everyone shopping on the health exchange in Michigan. Continue reading
Among the Americans being held in Iran is Flint-native Amir Hekmati, who was arrested there nearly four years ago on charges of spying. He says he was in the country visiting family. Continue reading
The recognition comes from the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Continue reading
The USDA is putting just under 9 million dollars into rural communities in Michigan.
The money will go towards improving and expanding water mains and sewer systems in Gratiot, Saginaw and Arenac counties. Continue reading
According to data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in 2013, Michigan had $108 million in Medicare overpayments — a dramatic increase over previous years. Continue reading
Amir Hekmati was detained in Iran during a trip to visit his grandmother. He was accused and convicted of being an American spy — charges his family flatly denies. Continue reading
An 80 year old program that’s dedicated to funding rural energy cooperatives is sending 25 million dollars to Michigan’s Thumb.
Every year the USDA parcels out loans to energy cooperatives in order to strengthen rural infrastructure.
This year the USDA is giving out roughly $100 million. A quarter of that money is going to the Thumb Electric Cooperative of Michigan.
The Coop’s General Manager Dallas Braun says the money will help them implement a new monitoring system.
“Currently our members read their own meters every month, submit a reading to us and then we bill them based on the reading. So the AMI system or the Smart Grid system will allow us to become more efficient and save a lot of money.”
Braun says one of the big advantages of a coop is that the money they save goes back to their members.
This refuse, or rather what’s in it, is becoming a hotly contested issue between scientists and CAFO supporters. Continue reading
Michigan’s lower peninsula is home to more than two-hundred CAFO’s – or Confined Animal Feeding Operations. Opponents call them factory farms. They keep food prices down, but at what cost.
Matt Carey is the owner of Carey’s Pioneer Farms, the farmstead has been in Matt’s family for three generations and he said passing it on isn’t necessarily going to be easy.
“Like I said, it’s real important for us that we grow an operation that our kids might want to take over. It’s something you have to have a passion for though. You don’t just do it because your Dad wants you to or whatever. You have to have a passion to do it, ‘cus it’s a lot of work and sweat, and a lot of hours you don’t plan on workin’.”
Carey also said it’s a lot of money you don’t plan on spending. His farm is subject to regulations from the state and federal level. Many of the regulations are meant to keep byproducts of the farm away from clean water.
The byproducts could be anything from excess nutrient runoff, to antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Carey said the renovations to keep his farm up to regulation are costly, and they take a long time to yield positive results. Carey tried to justify a long time manure storage facility he said they needed just to stay open.
“That’s one of the most expensive projects I’ve ever spent in my life for somethin’ like that. There’s over 200-thousand in engineering costs and cement, just to store manure in. When you take that much money and put it into a manure storage what is the payback for that? There is a payback for that, but it’s not that much. Not compared to what was just thrown into it.”
Although costly for farmers, some believe the regulations in place are not enough to protect Michigan’s environment, or it’s residents.
Dr. Murray Borello is a scientist at Alma College, he said CAFO’s are not a sustainable future for Michigan agriculture.
“We’re not doing anything cutting edge. In fact, the scientific community is like ‘Yea okay we know this, it’s just one more piece of data, one more study that shows what hundreds of studies are already showing.’ The environment is impaired as a result of inadequacy of these regulations to protect the environment.”
In a study conducted by Borello in 2008, he found CAFO’s that operated within regulations still violated Michigan water quality laws. Therefore, he said, even if the farms were up to snuff, they were still a detriment to the environment.
Not everyone is convinced by Borello’s work however. Laura Campbell is the manager of the Agricultural Ecology Department at the Michigan Farm Bureau. She said more rigorous testing needs to be done before she buys into what Borello believes.
“I, yes, I have read his work. And have actually had several conversations with Mr. Borello. Uhm, having read his research I don’t think that his answers are definitive. Uhm, thats not to say that, ya know, I’m trying, that I would absolutely deny his findings. But I think that his findings are inconclusive from what he claims the result from them is.”
Borello said getting farms to take part in studies is extremely difficult. That makes the science behind the issue slow-going.
“I have tried to work with CAFO’s. I think we could get a great study on how to make these things more sustainable, I would love to work towards that. I’m not here to bash anybody, I wanna make the situation better. And you can’t do that when you’re fighting, you can only do it when you collaborate.”
As Borello says, the problem lies in the disconnect between farmer, and scientist.
Matt Carey attempted to get to the heart of the problem when he said,
“My whole problem is, I just wanna farm. Ya know, I don’t wanna have to do all this extra, we were doing all this extra stuff. We just weren’t documenting it before we were forced to document it. Ya know, we were doing, we’ve been doing soil testing since 1990, so it’s been a crucial part of our operation and the cash crop to be soil tested. Now they just say it’s gotta be done every three years which we already always done.”
Farmers like Carey want to create CAFO’s that are sustainable, and can be passed on to the next generation. In order to do that they have to comply with a litany of regulations.
Scientists like Borello want to ensure the regulations are stringent enough to protect Michigan’s waterways.
These goals are not mutually exclusive, and working together could shorten the journey to their solution.
Ontario Power Generation’s, or OPG’s, proposed nuclear dump has been declared safe enough to construct by a Canadian Joint Review Panel of scientists.
The panel submitted over 400 pages of analysis to the Minister. She now has 4 months to decide whether or not to grant OPG a permit to construct.
The panel recommended numerous plans of action that OPG will need to account for if they want to retain their accepted status.
It’s important to remember OPG is only requesting a permit to build the facility.
They will need to go through another assessment to earn a permit to use it.
Whether graduating students are leaving college, or getting ready to attend, one thing on many students’ minds is student loans. Continue reading
After two years of hearings and arguments, a recommendation was released Wednesday, May 6th, on building a nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron.
A Canadian Panel was tasked with assessing the proposal for a nuclear dump which would be run by Ontario Power Generation – or OPG.
The Canadian Minister of the Environment will review the panel’s recommendations and issue a decision on whether or not to allow a nuclear dump within the Lake Huron watershed.
We’ll have a more detailed description of the panel’s recommendations once the documents are made public.
A number of Republican presidential hopefuls are descending on Michigan. Three confirmed and likely candidates made stops across the state on Monday.
A population that can be challenging to reach. Continue reading
Governor Rick Snyder has established a not-for-profit fund to finance trips across the country, fueling speculation he has his eye on the White House.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office has delivered the state’s defense of its same-sex marriage ban to the US Supreme Court.
The state’s 59-page brief focuses largely on states’ rights. The attorney general argues the case is not specifically about marriage, but who gets to decide the question.
From the brief’s summation:
“This case is not about the best definition of marriage or any stereotypes about families. Families
come in all types, and parents of all types—married or single, gay or straight—love their children. This case is about whether the Fourteenth Amendment imposes a single marriage view on all states such that the people have no right to decide. It does not.”
The brief says the US Constitution is silent on the issue, so the decision on defining who can get married is left to states or their voters. The brief says Michigan voters made a reasonable choice when they approved the ban in 2004, and only they should be allowed to reverse it.
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are the lesbian couple challenging the ban. They say it violates their equal protection rights and the equal protections rights of the children they are raising together, but cannot jointly adopt.
Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee will also defend marriage bans when the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case next month.
Tuesday night the EPA will give an update on cleanup work along the Tittabawassee River. It’s part of the at the bi-monthly Community Advisory Group meeting’s.
The current portion of the cleanup is focused on the floodplain of the river. It requires certain areas of soil to be removed and replaced.
The public is invited to the meeting and the local community group is looking to recruit new members.
The meeting is scheduled for the Tittabawassee Township Memorial Park Building in Freeland and begins at 6 PM.
Earlier this year the EPA estimated the entire cleanup would be completed in 2018.
Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) says Republicans are getting ready with replacement plans in case the US Supreme Court strikes down a key provision of Obamacare.
The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, or VIDA, would set a national precedent for controlling boat ballast water that enters the U.S.
The bill was revived when Senator Gary Peters of Michigan added an amendment that would require all ships that enter the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence Seaway to dump their ballast water prior to entry.
Ballast water is considered to be one of the biggest doorways for aquatic invasive species to enter our waterways.