Minnesota lawmakers introduce anti-copper mining legislation

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are ramping up efforts to prevent mining companies from gaining a foothold in Minnesota with legislation that aims to slow or ban copper-nickel mining on the Iron Range.

Companion bills set to be proposed by state lawmakers and U.S.

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2 nuke plants, 1 bribery scandal, no answers: Towns on edge

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — For much of the past four years, the residents of a pair of villages along Lake Erie have been on edge over the fate of their nuclear plants, which generate enough tax money to pay for nicer schools than their neighbors.

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Flint families welcome water crisis charges, seek healing

By Kat Stafford, Mike Householder and Corey Williams, Associated Press Writers

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Flint mother Ariana Hawk struggled to find words. Bittersweet came to mind, as did frustrated.

“I literally could have cried,” said Hawk, sitting in her car after learning Tuesday that former Michigan Gov.

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The Associated Press

Ex.-Michigan Gov. Snyder charged in Flint water crisis

By Ed White and David Eggert, Associated Press Writers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday with willful neglect of duty after an investigation of ruinous decisions that left Flint with lead-contaminated water and a regional outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

The charges, revealed in an online court record, are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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The Associated Press

Flint water crisis: Rooted in neglect, fallout continues

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, The Associated Press has learned.

Questions and answers about the crisis that made Flint a symbol of the nation’s decaying drinking water infrastructure:

WHAT HAPPENED, AND HOW?

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The Associated Press

Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe

DETROIT (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15, The Associated Press has learned.

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The Associated Press

Enbridge rejects Michigan’s demand to shut down oil pipeline

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge said Tuesday it would defy Michigan’s demand to shut down an oil pipeline that runs through a channel linking two of the Great Lakes, contending that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision was based on bad information and political posturing.

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One-third of America’s rivers have changed color since 1984

America’s rivers are changing color — and people are behind many of the shifts, a new study said.

One-third of the tens of thousands of mile-long (two kilometer-long) river segments in the United States have noticeably shifted color in satellite images since 1984.

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Deal reached on project to protect lakes from invasive fish

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan, Illinois and a federal agency have agreed on funding the next phase of an initiative to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses on a Chicago-area waterway, officials said Thursday.

The two states and the U.S.

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Michigan judge nullifies crucial permit for mining project

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge has overruled state regulators who approved a key permit for a proposed open-pit mine in the Upper Peninsula, another delay for a project that has been debated for nearly two decades.

Administrative Law Judge Daniel Pulter invalidated a wetlands permit granted in 2018 to Aquila Resources Inc.

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Critics say EPA allowing more time to fix lead-tainted water

The Trump administration overhauled the country’s widely criticized, 29-year-old framework to eliminate toxic lead from drinking water on Tuesday last week, but critics charge that the new rule gives utilities far more time than before to finally replace old, lead-contaminated pipes.

The new rules come six years after the Flint, Michigan, water crisis highlighted ongoing, dangerous exposure of children and others in the city to the neurotoxin in drinking water, and the failures of officials on all levels to adequately protect local families at the time.

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12 Indiana communities getting water infrastructure grants

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Twelve rural Indiana communities will share more than $8 million in federal grants to improve their water systems.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced the grants Thursday.

“These grants are vital to Indiana’s economic success as these projects should improve the quality of life in these rural communities,” Crouch said.

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The Associated Press

Congress OKs 5-year extension of Great Lakes cleanup program

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A program that has pumped $2.7 billion into healing long-term injuries to the Great Lakes environment has received authorization from Congress to continue another five years.

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Sunday to extend the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as the House did earlier this year.

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The Associated Press

Flint joins $641M deal to settle lawsuits over lead in water

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Flint City Council on Tuesday signed off on its portion of a $641 million settlement with residents of the poor, majority-Black city who were exposed to lead-tainted water.

The city’s insurer would kick in $20 million as part of a sweeping deal to settle lawsuits against Flint, the state of Michigan and other parties.

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The Associated Press

Judge plans to hear from residents in $641M Flint water deal

DETROIT (AP) — A judge said Monday that she’ll wait until January before deciding whether to give preliminary approval to a $641 million settlement in a lawsuit by Flint residents who were exposed to water contaminated with lead and bacteria.

Residents in the city of 100,000 still will get a chance to give their opinion if preliminary approval is granted, U.S.

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Wisconsin releases action plan to reduce PFAS chemical use

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin must prevent pollution from forever chemicals known as PFAS while developing ways to reduce the chemicals’ use, according to a 25-point action plan released Wednesday by Gov. Tony Evers’ administration after a year of study.

Nearly 20 state agencies, along with the University of Wisconsin, worked on the report to tackle the growing pollution and public concern around PFAS, which is shorthand for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

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The Associated Press

Flint water settlement borrowing plan approved by lawmakers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan legislators on Wednesday finalized a plan to borrow $600 million to finance the state’s proposed settlement with the residents of Flint, whose water was contaminated with elevated levels of the neurotoxin lead.

The legislation received House approval on 105-3 and 104-4 votes and will be signed by Democratic Gov.

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Wisconsin climate task force releases its recommendations

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bipartisan task force that brought together environmentalists, the energy industry and others released its recommendations Wednesday for how Wisconsin might bolster its economy while addressing climate change.

The report from the task force, which was led by Lt.

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Wisconsin says wolf season will be held next November

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin will resume its wolf season next November after the animal is dropped from the federal endangered species list, the state announced Friday.

The Department of Natural Resources said wolf season will begin Nov. 6. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last month that it would delist gray wolves, citing thriving populations in the western Great Lakes region, Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest.

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The Associated Press

Michigan will borrow $600M for Flint water settlement

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers on Wednesday planned to begin swiftly passing a plan to borrow $600 million to fund the state’s proposed settlement with the residents of Flint, who sued after their municipal water supply was contaminated with elevated levels of lead for 18 months.

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The Associated Press

Officials: Flint makes progress toward ending water crisis

Flint has taken important steps toward resolving the lead contamination crisis that made the impoverished Michigan city a symbol of the drinking water problems that plague many U.S. communities, officials said Monday.

A total of $120 million in federal and state funding has helped Flint replace more than 9,700 lead service lines, which carry water from main pipes into homes, said Kurt Thiede, administrator of the U.S.

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The Associated Press

Federal officials hear arguments on Enbridge pipeline tunnel

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Building an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a channel linking two of the Great Lakes would risk environmental devastation, opponents said Monday, while supporters argued that rejecting the plan would further damage a Michigan economy already reeling from the coronavirus.

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Hundreds of boats likely destroyed in Michigan marina fire

LASALLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A fire Friday destroyed an enormous building loaded with hundreds of boats stored for the winter in southeastern Michigan, sending smoke for miles along Lake Erie.

Neighbors and boat owners rushed to get as close as possible to Toledo Beach Marina. Aerial video showed clouds of black smoke and a building overwhelmed by flames.

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Minnesota regulators deny request to delay Line 3 pipeline

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota regulatory panel on Friday denied a request from two tribes to prevent Enbridge Energy from moving forward with its contentious Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, which broke ground this week after receiving its final state permit.

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The Associated Press

Enbridge starts construction on Line 3 in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Enbridge Energy began construction on its Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement in Minnesota on Tuesday, a day after state regulators approved the final permit for the $2.6 billion project amid legal challenges from local activist and Indigenous groups.

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The Associated Press

Minnesota gives final green light to disputed oil pipeline

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota regulators approved the final permit Monday for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement across northern Minnesota, giving the company the green light to begin construction on the $2.6 billion project.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency granted a construction storm water permit for the project, which was the last hurdle that Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge needed to clear after years of reviews and court battles.

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Michigan agency recommends $5.4M for recreation projects

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials have selected 14 community and state parks, trails and sports facilities to share $5.4 million in federal grants.

The state Department of Natural Resources said the money will come from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is supported by revenues from gas and oil development from the Gulf of Mexico.

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Minnesota tribes file to halt pipeline approval due to virus

ST. PAUL, Minn (AP) — Two Native American tribes in northern Minnesota are asking state regulators to stop the imminent construction of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, saying it would increase the risk of coronavirus infections spreading.

The Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa filed a motion late Wednesday asking the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to stay its approval of the $2.6 billion project.

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The Associated Press

Army Corps of Engineers grants final federal Line 3 permit

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday approved the final federal permit for Enbridge Energy’s planned Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement across northern Minnesota, bringing the project a step closer to construction.

In a release from its St.

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Flint water lawsuit settlement now totals about $641 million

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The proposed settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of residents of Flint, Michigan, who were harmed by lead-tainted water now totals about $641 million, officials revealed Tuesday.

The lawsuit was the result of workers following state environmental officials’ advice not to use anti-corrosive additives.

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Michigan governor seeks shutdown of Great Lakes oil pipeline

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took legal action Friday to shut down a pipeline that carries oil beneath a channel that links two of the Great Lakes.

Whitmer’s office notified the Canadian company that it was revoking an easement granted in 1953 to extend a roughly 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) section of the pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac.

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The Associated Press

Groups fight to keep gray wolf protections for most of US

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocates and environmental groups have announced that they are challenging the removal of federal protections for gray wolves across most of the U.S.

Two coalitions of groups filed formal notices over the past several days that they plan to sue the U.S. Interior Department in federal court unless protections are restored.

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Church to honor 45th anniversary of Fitzgerald shipwreck

DETROIT (AP) — Mariners’ Church of Detroit will observe the 45th anniversary Sunday of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald during its yearly memorial service for those who have died in Great Lakes shipwrecks.

The event will be live-streamed on Facebook for the first time, said the Rev.

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Trump officials end gray wolf protections across most of US

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Trump administration officials on Thursday stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators.

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Grand Rapids selected for lead pipe replacement grant

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan city has been selected to receive a $5.1 million federal water infrastructure improvement grant to help pay for lead service line replacement.

The funding also will support public engagement in Grand Rapids on the risks of lead in drinking water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Minority communities question election-year push by EPA

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Theresa Landrum lives in southwest Detroit, where residents complain frequently about dirty air. Tree-shaded neighborhoods with schools, churches and parks lie on either side of an interstate highway and in the shadow of a sprawling oil refinery that belches soot and fumes.

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Judge: Michigan agency can evaluate Great Lakes tunnel plan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Public Service Commission has some authority over Enbridge’s plans to build an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the channel that connects two of the Great Lakes, a state administrative law judge ruled Friday.

The agency can evaluate the need for the project and whether it would be designed, constructed and operated safely, Judge Dennis W.

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‘Big pile’ of eels dumped in NYC park; impact not yet known

NEW YORK (AP) — Andrew Orkin was taking a break from his evening jog to sit by Prospect Park Lake when he turned around and was startled to see a tangle of wriggling snakes.

“And quite a big pile — fully alive,” said Orkin, a music composer who lives near the Brooklyn park.

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Wipes flushed in toilets cause big waste spill in Michigan small town

BEULAH, Mich. (AP) — Small town, big mess.

Baby wipes clogged the wastewater system in Beulah in northern Michigan, causing a backup of 10,000 gallons of human waste from a manhole, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The spill was on the grounds of the village’s wastewater treatment plant.

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Ancient stone patterns in Straits of Mackinac add new wrinkle to Line 5 pipeline debate

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) — Images from an underwater vehicle seem to reveal stone patterns on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan, possible evidence of Native American artifacts from thousands of years ago, a newspaper reported.

A group of amateur explorers raised money to look at Enbridge Inc.’s oil pipeline on the lake bottom.

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Judge: Flint must check water lines in newer neighborhoods

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ordered Flint to check for lead or galvanized steel water lines in neighborhoods built since the 1990s, despite the city’s belief that the homes have copper pipes.

Flint is in the homestretch of digging down to water lines at more than 20,000 properties and replacing them if necessary, the result of a deal that settled a lawsuit by residents and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Minnesota Supreme Court weighs fate of PolyMet mine permits

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Lawyers for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine and state regulators urged the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday to defer to the judgment of the state Department of Natural Resources and reinstate three critical permits for the project.

Attorneys for the DNR and PolyMet argued that the agency acted within its authority when it decided, after years of public environmental review and permitting proceedings, that there was no need to hold an additional trial-like proceeding known as a contested case hearing.

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All-terrain wheelchairs added at Indiana Dunes State Park

CHESTERTON, Ind. (AP) — Three new all-terrain wheelchairs have been added for guest use at Indiana Dunes State Park.

The park in Northwest Indiana says the chairs were purchased by the Friends of Indiana Dunes. Two of the chairs are designed for use on trails, and one chair is designed for use on the Lake Michigan beach.

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Michigan PFAS activist has cancer, says she’s not surprised

BELMONT, Mich. (AP) — A woman who was honored by the federal government for her environmental activism in western Michigan has been diagnosed with cancer.

Sandy Wynn-Stelt told WOOD-TV that her thyroid and lymph nodes were removed last week. She has lived for more than 30 years across from a Kent County site where Wolverine Worldwide dumped PFAS-tainted sludge.

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Trump pushes mining with order, but effects are uncertain

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration is seeking to fast-track mining projects and could offer grants and loans to help companies pay for equipment, administration officials said Thursday, as they offered details on a plan that critics said could spoil rivers and lakes in Minnesota, Idaho and elsewhere with mining pollution.

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Michigan governor releases $500 million water infrastructure plan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a $500 million plan Thursday to upgrade drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in Michigan that includes actions such as replacing lead service lines and removing chemical pollutants.

The initiative, dubbed MI Clean Water, calls for creating a pot of money from which local governments could apply for grants or loans to improve their water treatment systems.

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Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high in 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Drownings in Lake Michigan have reached record levels with at least 53 people dead so far this year, according to a water safety advocacy group.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit that tracks Great Lakes drownings, said that compares with 48 drownings in 2019 and 42 in 2018.

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Bill sent to Whitmer would lengthen bonds for dam repairs

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday finalized a bill that would lengthen the financing period of lake projects in the wake of flooding that damaged dams and drained lakes in the Midland area.

The legislation would extend, from 10 years to 40 years, the maximum maturity date of bonds issued to pay for inland lake-level control projects across the state.

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The Associated Press

Opposition team criticizes Enbridge plans for oil tunnel

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge’s plans for drilling an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a channel linking two of the Great Lakes do not meet industry standards and pose significant hazards to workers and the environment, experts who reviewed project documents on behalf of opposition groups told The Associated Press.

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EMU to test campus wastewater for COVID-19

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Eastern Michigan University will test campus wastewater for the COVID-19 virus and other signs of infectious diseases.

The testing, part of the school’s return-to-campus plan, is intended to track the presence of the coronavirus in wastewater flowing from residence halls and apartment complexes.

The monitoring might provide early detection of asymptomatic cases of the virus, according to the school.

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