Severe weather in Wisconsin causes widespread damage

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Strong thunderstorms caused widespread damage across Wisconsin, left tens of thousands without power and triggered tornado warnings.

The severe weather stretched from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan and began Wednesday evening in northwestern Wisconsin. By 2 a.m. Thursday, the numerous tornado warnings around the state had expired.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-severe-weather-wisconsin-widespread-damage/

The Associated Press

EXCLUSIVE: Biden mileage rule to exceed Obama climate goal

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major step against climate change, President Joe Biden is proposing a return to aggressive Obama-era vehicle mileage standards over five years, according to industry and government officials briefed on the plan. He’s then aiming for even tougher anti-pollution rules after that to forcefully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nudge 40% of U.S.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-biden-mileage-rule-obama-climate-goal/

The Associated Press

Carbon-capture pipelines offer climate aid; activists wary

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two companies seeking to build thousands of miles of pipeline across the Midwest are promising the effort will aid rather than hinder the fight against climate change, though some environmental groups remain skeptical.

The pipelines would stretch from North Dakota to Illinois, potentially transforming the Corn Belt into one of the world’s largest corridors for a technology called carbon capture and storage.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-carbon-capture-pipelines-offer-climate-aid-activists-wary/

The Associated Press

Enbridge removes anchor from Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge said Monday it had retrieved an anchor that broke away from a maintenance vessel while on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.

The mishap occurred last Wednesday as a contractor for the pipeline company was doing seasonal work on the underwater section of Line 5, an oil line that runs between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-enbridge-anchor-michigan-straits-mackinac/

The Associated Press

Elevated metal levels found in water near Rockton, Illinois’ Chemtool

ROCKTON, Ill. (AP) — Officials have found elevated levels of harmful metals in groundwater monitoring wells at a Rockton Superfund toxic waste site.

But the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency noted that the substances were not found in the municipal water system for the Village of Rockton. Its water was tested June 21.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-elevated-metal-levels-rockton-illinois/

The Associated Press

Minnesota court sends PolyMet air permit case back to agency

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota encountered a setback Monday when the state Court of Appeals ordered regulators to revisit a critical air emissions permit given to the project.

The court ruled that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency hadn’t sufficiently justified granting the permit after opponents raised allegations that PolyMet was planning a much larger mine.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-minnesota-court-polymet-air-permit-case-agency/

The Associated Press

Invasive weed starry stonewort confirmed in Leech Lake, Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An invasive weed that can choke out native plants and fish habitat has been found in one of Minnesota’s largest and most popular walleye lakes, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

The DNR has confirmed the discovery of starry stonewort in Leech Lake, located in northwestern Minnesota.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-invasive-weed-starry-stonewort-leech-lake/

The Associated Press

Indiana Dunes collecting visitors’ ideas for new services

CHESTERTON, Ind. (AP) — Officials at Indiana Dunes National Park want to hear from visitors as they develop a strategy to add services at the park, ranging from food or beverage sales to organized tours.

Two open houses are set for Thursday and Friday at the national park in northwestern Indiana.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-indiana-dunes-visitors-ideas-new-services/

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Worries over racism, waterways inspire push to rename fish

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Minnesota state Sen. Foung Hawj was never a fan of the “Asian carp” label commonly applied to four imported fish species that are wreaking havoc in the U.S. heartland, infesting numerous rivers and bearing down on the Great Lakes.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-worries-racism-waterways-rename-fish-invasive-asian-carp/

The Associated Press

‘Some crumbs’: Critics urge rejection of $641M Flint deal

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge listened Tuesday to Flint residents who were victims of the city’s lead-contaminated water, a step in determining whether she should sign off on a $641 million deal that would settle claims against the state of Michigan.

More than a dozen people without lawyers signed up to speak, all in opposition.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-critics-urge-rejection-flint-settlement-deal/

The Associated Press

Illinois sues owner of plant where fire prompted evacuations

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois prosecutors on Friday sued the owner of a chemical plant where a fire last month sent dark smoke and ash into the air for days and prompted evacuations, saying the company should be held accountable for air and water pollution and hazards that still exist.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-illinois-sues-owner-plant-fire-evacuations/

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Scientists: Pup births hopeful sign for Isle Royale wolves

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Wolf pups have been spotted again on Isle Royale, a hopeful sign in the effort to rebuild the predator species’ population at the U.S. national park, scientists said Monday.

It’s unknown how many gray wolves roam the island chain in northwestern Lake Superior.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-scientists-births-isle-royale-wolves/

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Report: Great Lakes region needs about $2B for flood repairs

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Shoreline cities and towns in the Great Lakes region will be spending heavily in coming years to fix public infrastructure damaged by recent flooding and erosion, with estimated costs approaching $2 billion, officials said Thursday.

Communities already have poured about $878 million into repairs over the last two years, according to the results of a survey by the Great Lakes and St.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-report-great-lakes-region-flood-repairs/

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Court: DNR can impose farm conditions, consider well impact

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin regulators can impose operating conditions on factory farms and consider high-capacity wells’ cumulative environmental impacts when deciding whether to grant permits, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The decisions mark a major win for conservationists and clarify that the Department of Natural Resources has broad authority to protect Wisconsin’s waters.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-dnr-farm-conditions-well-impact/

The Associated Press

Ohio expands farmer incentive program to clean up Lake Erie

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Farmers in 10 more northern Ohio counties will be eligible to receive financial incentives for using new agriculture practices that improve water quality in Lake Erie, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

That brings the number of counties eligible up to 24 through the H2Ohio water quality initiative’s farmer incentive program.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-ohio-farmer-incentive-program-lake-erie/

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Nonprofit: Number of drownings in Great Lakes jumps in 2021

HOMEWOOD, Ill. (AP) — More drownings have been reported in the Great Lakes so far in 2021 than by this time last year, prompting officials to urge swimmers to practice water safety measures.

As of July 2, there were 32 drownings in the Great Lakes, compared to 25 as of July 4, 2020, according to data collected by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-nonprofit-drownings-great-lakes-jumps-2021/

The Associated Press

Water authority: Pumping stations did not fail during storm

DETROIT (AP) — Two water pumping stations in Detroit experienced power-related problems but did not fail during a heavy rainstorm last week that left basements, streets and even freeways flooded, the head of a regional water and wastewater agency said Friday.

Great Lakes Water Authority Chief Executive Sue McCormick told reporters that due to an electrical service issue only three of six pumps at one station were able to be brought online, while a power outage at a second station slowed efforts to turn three of its pumps on as the rain poured.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-detroit-water-authority-pumping-stations-storm/

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Chicago’s Adler Planetarium won’t fully reopen until 2022

CHICAGO (AP) — While most of Chicago’s cultural institutions have reopened their doors, the Adler Planetarium won’t do so fully until next year.

The planetarium along Lake Michigan closed in March 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Planetarium officials said in a letter posted on the website earlier this month that they’ll start offering some events in July including weekend screenings of sky shows, but due to financial difficulties the full reopening will be in March 2022.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-chicago-adler-planetarium-reopen-2022/

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Homes on tainted wells near Michigan airport will get city water

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of homes that use well water near the Grand Rapids-area airport could be connected to a public water source by 2023 after the state set aside $5 million for the project, officials said.

The homes in Cascade Township have wells in an area of polluted groundwater.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-homes-pfas-wells-michigan-airport-water/

The Associated Press

Owner of closed power plant to remove toxic waste near river

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The owner of an abandoned power plant has agreed to clean up toxic waste dumped into the flood plain of the Vermilion River, boosting efforts to protest Illinois’ lone national scenic river.

Under a deal brokered by the Illinois attorney general’s office, Texas-based Vistra on Monday agreed to drain pits of water-soaked coal ash along the Middle Fork Vermilion River, about 120 miles (193.12 kilometers)south of Chicago.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-closed-power-plant-toxic-waste-illinois-river/

The Associated Press

In break with Trump, House GOP forms group on climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Utah Rep. John Curtis says he’s tired of hearing that Republicans — his party colleagues — don’t care about climate change or slowing global warming.

A former Provo mayor who has served in Congress since 2017, Curtis says Republicans can push for serious climate solutions while holding fast to conservative values.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-house-gop-group-climate-change/

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Army Corps plans extensive review of Great Lakes tunnel plan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday it would conduct an extensive review of Enbridge Energy’s plan to build an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a Great Lakes channel in Michigan, which could significantly delay the project.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-army-corps-extensive-review-line-5-tunnel/

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NOAA to designate Wisconsin coastline as national sanctuary

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal officials have designated a huge swath of Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coastline as a National Marine Sanctuary to protect historic shipwrecks in the area, Gov. Tony Evers’ office announced Tuesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will publish regulations designating 962 square miles from Kewaunee County south to Ozaukee County as a sanctuary, Evers’ office said.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-noaa-wisconsin-coastline-national-marine-sanctuary-designated/

The Associated Press

Foam containing ‘forever chemicals’ used against Illinois plant fire

A company hired to help extinguish a fire that gutted a northern Illinois chemical plant this week used foam containing toxic compounds that have tainted surface waters and groundwater across the U.S., officials said Thursday.

The private contractor sprayed the foam for about three hours Tuesday at the Chemtool Inc.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-foam-pfas-illinois-plant-fire/

The Associated Press

Chicago man jumps into Lake Michigan for 365th straight day

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago bus driver looking for a way to relieve stress during the coronavirus pandemic jumped into Lake Michigan for a 365th straight day on Saturday.

Dan O’Conor said he started jumping into the lake at Montrose Harbor on the city’s North Side last year to relieve stress.

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The Associated Press

Chicago man jumps into Lake Michigan for 365th straight day

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago bus driver looking for a way to relieve stress during the coronavirus pandemic jumped into Lake Michigan for a 365th straight day on Saturday.

Dan O’Conor said he started jumping into the lake at Montrose Harbor on the city’s North Side last year to relieve stress.

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The Associated Press

Minnesota court affirms approval of Line 3 oil pipeline

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed state regulators’ key approvals of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project, in a dispute that drew over 1,000 protesters to northern Minnesota last week.

A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the state’s independent Public Utilities Commission correctly granted Enbridge the certificate of need and route permit that the Canadian-based company needed to begin construction on the 337-mile (542-kilometer) Minnesota segment of a larger project to replace a 1960s-era crude oil pipeline that has deteriorated and can run at only half capacity.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-minnesota-court-approves-line-3-oil-pipeline/

The Associated Press

Fight over Canadian oil rages on after pipeline’s demise

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Keystone XL is dead after a 12-year attempt to build the oil pipeline, yet the fight over Canadian crude rages on as emboldened environmentalists target other projects and pressure President Joe Biden to intervene — all while oil imports from the north keep rising.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-fight-canadian-oil-pipelines/

The Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Why a rural pipeline is a climate battleground

As Enbridge Energy prepares to finish rebuilding an oil pipeline across rural northern Minnesota, protesters are occupying part of the construction area and pledging a “summer of resistance” on the ground and in court.

Enbridge, which has obtained all necessary state and federal permits for the Line 3 project, says it will be finished by year’s end.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-explainer-line-3-pipeline-climate/

The Associated Press

Tests show PFAS contamination in 500 French Island wells

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — More than 500 wells on French Island have been contaminated with some level of PFAS chemicals, according to final results of state testing.

The La Crosse Tribune reported Friday that 538 wells on the island just west of La Crosse showed some level of the chemicals and 165 of them had levels above the state’s recommended 20 parts per trillion hazard standard.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-tests-pfas-contamination-500-french-island-wells/

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Wisconsin DNR issues fish consumption warnings for Yahara chain

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources issued new consumption warnings Wednesday for fish taken from the Yahara chain of lakes and waterways in Dane and Rock counties after tests showed elevated levels of PFAS contamination.

The advisories apply to fish taken from Wingra and Starkweather creeks, lakes Monona, Kegonsa, Waubesa, Upper and Lower Mud lakes and the Yahara River downstream to the Rock River.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-wisconsin-dnr-pfas-fish-consumption-warning/

The Associated Press

Marquette gets 1,000 feet of Great Lakes beach from utility

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — The largest city in the Upper Peninsula is getting 1,000 feet of valuable shoreline along Lake Superior.

The Marquette City Commission recently voted to accept the land at no cost from We Energies, a utility, the Mining Journal reported.

“There’s no contamination that we’re aware of and we’re not taking on a problem area.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-marquette-1000-feet-great-lakes-beach/

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Conservation corridor planned for Michigan’s western UP

MICHIGAMME TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A conservation corridor with links to existing protected areas is planned for a remote region in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.

The nonprofit Nature Conservancy said the 6,172-acre (2,497-hectare) Wilderness Lakes Reserve in the Michigamme Highlands area is being expanded by 4,854 acres (1,964 hectares) of forest and wetlands.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-conservation-corridor-planned-michigan/

The Associated Press

Algal blooms close 5 Madison-area Wisconsin beaches

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Algal blooms have forced health officials to close five Madison-area beaches.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday that the first tests of the season revealed blue-green algae blooms at beaches at BB Clarke, Olbrich and Warner parks and the Hudson Park lake access point.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-algae-blooms-wisconsin-beaches/

The Associated Press

Dispute over Flint bone scan device heats up in water cases

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Lawyers are defending the use of a handheld device to check for lead in Flint residents, despite the manufacturer’s warning that it wasn’t designed for that work.

The bone scan device has been a source of controversy in a $641 million settlement with people who were exposed to lead-contaminated water in Flint.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-dispute-flint-bone-scan-device/

The Associated Press

PFAS chemicals found in a third of water samples, state says

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said the results of a statewide sampling program does not indicate widespread contamination of drinking water supplies by a class of highly toxic chemicals used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers.

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Hundreds of lakes in U.S., Europe are losing oxygen

Oxygen levels have dropped in hundreds of lakes in the United States and Europe over the last four decades, a new study found.

And the authors said declining oxygen could lead to increased fish kills, algal blooms and methane emissions.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-hundreds-lakes-united-states-europe-losing-oxygen/

The Associated Press

Lifeguards up for discussion in Lake Michigan beach town

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A popular Lake Michigan beach town has been discussing whether to bring lifeguards back to the waterfront.

The South Haven Beach Safety Committee recently voted against recommending lifeguards or a second line of buoys, said City Manager Kate Hosier.

The committee’s work will be reviewed by the city council in South Haven, 60 miles southwest of Grand Rapids.

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The Associated Press

High waves wash out Chicago beaches as Lake Michigan reopens

CHICAGO (AP) — Beaches in Chicago were washed out by high waves Friday on the first day the city was to reopen Lake Michigan to swimming since summer 2019.

Waves reached up to 11 feet (3.35 meters) high, closing many of the beaches that had been set to open for the first time since Sept.

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Boulders in place to protect lakefront at Indiana Dunes Park

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — The National Park Service says the Portage Lakefront at Indiana Dunes National Park has reopened after a project to install boulders to protect the pavilion and assure safer access to the shoreline.

It says the joint effort by the City of Portage and the Park Service involved the installation of more than 1,000 tons of boulders needed to protect the lakefront and the Riverwalk from erosion.

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EPA restoring state and tribal power to protect waterways

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the latest reversal of a Trump-era policy, the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency is restoring a rule that grants states and Native American tribes authority to block pipelines and other energy projects that can pollute rivers, streams and other waterways.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/05/ap-epa-state-tribal-power-protect-waterways/

The Associated Press

Challengers to dune development win appeal at top court

SAUGATUCK, Mich. (AP) — A plan to turn a former church camp into luxury homes in a sand dune area near Lake Michigan can be challenged by some neighbors, the Michigan Supreme Court said Thursday.

After objections arose, the developer sold some land to create a buffer between the project and critics.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/05/challengers-to-dune-development-win-appeal-at-top-court/

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Protected areas cover a sixth of Earth’s land and freshwater

WASHINGTON (AP) — Roughly a sixth of the planet’s land and freshwater area now lies within protected or conservation areas, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday.

Next comes the hard part. The world needs to ensure that those regions are actually effectively managed to stabilize the climate and to curb biodiversity loss while also increasing the total area of protected places, scientists say.

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Michigan lawmakers propose $500M to repair dams after breach

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers on Wednesday proposed spending $500 million to repair aging dams a year after a hydroelectric dam failed to hold back floodwaters in the Midland area, causing more than $250 million in damage, draining lakes and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/05/ap-michigan-lawmakers-500m-repair-dams/

The Associated Press

Great Lakes water surge eases after 2 record-setting years

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A spell of dry, mild weather is giving the Great Lakes a break after two years of high water that has shattered records and heavily damaged shoreline roads and homes, officials said Monday.

Although still above normal, the lakes have dropped steadily since last fall and are expected to remain below 2020 levels for most of this year, according to a U.S.

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Enbridge defies Michigan governor’s order to close pipeline

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — An Upper Midwestern oil pipeline continued operating Wednesday, despite a shutdown demand from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that the operator warned could lead to fuel disruptions similar to those resulting from a cyberattack on an East Coast system.

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Clean megaprojects divide surprise group: environmentalists

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Sprawling wind farms located off the coast. Hydropower transmission lines that cut through some of America’s most beloved forests and rivers. Solar megaprojects of unprecedented size.

As President Joe Biden’s administration plans to fight climate change by weaning the nation off fossil fuels, these large-scale renewable energy projects are the source of conflict within a seemingly unlikely group: environmentalists.

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The Associated Press

Company begins replacing underwater cables damaged by anchor

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — The company whose underwater power cables were damaged by an anchor strike in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac three years ago said Monday it was beginning to install replacements.

A ship anchor in April 2018 struck three of American Transmission Co.’s six cables, which moved electricity between the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/05/ap-transmission-company-underwater-cables-damaged-anchor/

The Associated Press

Hold on! 240-pound fish, age 100, caught in Detroit River

DETROIT (AP) — Now that’s a whopper — a very old whopper!

A 240-pound (108.8 kilograms) sturgeon that could be more than 100 years old was caught last week in the Detroit River by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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The Associated Press

Oil pipeline disputes raise tensions between U.S. and Canada

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Months after President Joe Biden snubbed Canadian officials by canceling Keystone XL, an impending showdown over a second crude oil pipeline threatens to further strain ties between the two neighbors that were frayed during the Trump administration.

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