Michigan governor releases plan draft for carbon neutrality

By Anna Liz Nichols, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan will build clean energy infrastructure and invest in green programs over the next 30 years with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 to confront climate change, a draft of a state plan says.

Gov.

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The Associated Press

Michigan’s top five safest small cities are all in Oakland County, according to a recent national study. Safety was calculated by factoring in the violent-crime rate, property-crime rate and motor vehicle crash deaths per capita.

The post Oakland County home to many of Michigan’s safest small cities first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

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Guest Contributor

U.S. Army Corps directs millions to Great Lakes coastal resiliency, Soo Locks and invasive carp barrier

The project to construct a new Soo Lock has been fully funded as of Wednesday, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which included $479 million directed to the new lock.

“In Michigan, we know how vital the Locks are to our economy and our national defense,” Sen.

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Natasha Blakely

Searching for help. Where can homeowners get money to fix failing septic systems?

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Michigan Radio

Flint ranked the worst for economic health in Michigan small cities in a recent report by WalletHub, a personal finance organization that tracks financial and other trends. To evaluate economic health, the study looked at population, job and income growth, along with the unemployment rate.

The post Economic health affects other indicators of livability first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

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Guest Contributor

Holland, Michigan ranks number one in the state for quality of life in “Best Small Cities in America,” a study published by WalletHub, a personal finance website that tracks financial and other trends. It is one of five measures the study used to rank the desirability of small cities. Quality of life was assessed by measures like average commute time, city walkability and number of bars, restaurants and cultural centers per capita.

The post Holland ranks first in quality of life for Michigan small cities first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

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Guest Contributor

Soo Locks to close to marine traffic for winter maintenance

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie are shutting down to marine traffic to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform critical maintenance.

The locks on the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron are expected to be closed from Saturday to March 25, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

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The Associated Press

Great Lakes researchers predict record-low ice coverage

By Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Michigan Radio

Work continues on removing lead water lines in Benton Harbor

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — More than 400 water service lines in Benton Harbor have been replaced or verified to be free of lead, according to state officials.

City officials also are reviewing bids from contractors for removal of an estimated 3,900 lead service lines, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said this week in a release.

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The Associated Press

By Anna Traver, Payton Wells and Hope O’Dell Great Lakes Echo Editor’s note: A recent study evaluated the quality of 1,322 U.S. small cities by five measures. This story is part of a series taking a closer look at one measure as it relates to the 39 Michigan cities in the study. HOLT – It’s […]

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Guest Contributor

I Speak for the Fish: Meeting the mysterious muskie

Just like serious birders and all manner of naturalists, many divers keep a life list of the species they have seen. Typically, the more elusive the species, the more coveted the sighting. Size also plays a role in desirability, whether it’s a condor or a blue whale.  

When it comes to impressively large and elusive freshwater species, a couple come to mind.  

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Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: PFAS in Lake Superior fish, two Michigan locations could land on Superfund list

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/01/pfas-news-lake-superior-fish-michigan-superfund-list/

Natasha Blakely

On Record: Enbridge returns to court to try to get Line 5 permit

A new round of court proceedings commences in the long-running Enbridge Inc. Line 5 saga as Administrative Law Judge Dennis Mack oversees the cross-examination of a series of witnesses starting on Jan. 14.

The results of this cross-examination will play a role in the Michigan Public Service Commission’s decision on whether or not to grant Enbridge one of the key permits it needs to construct the Line 5 tunnel.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/01/enbridge-court-michigan-public-service-commission-line-5-permit/

Natasha Blakely

Climate Ghosts author: To save more species, treat them like kin

For Professor Nancy Langston, our intransigence in protecting struggling species like caribou and others is a puzzle. These species exist in our memories and culture, and we’ve invested in protecting them, so why do their populations continue to crash? 

That’s the question at the core of Langston’s latest book, “Climate Ghosts: Migratory Species in the Anthropocene”.

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Gary Wilson

Combined Effort: Sierra Club to award Great Lakes News Collaborative

Inadequate regulations, infrastructure failures and developments, water quality and quantity, and climate migration were just some of the many pressing Great Lakes issues covered collectively by the Great Lakes News Collaborative over the past year.

With timely stories set to a backdrop of visually compelling photos and video, the goal for the Great Lakes News Collaborative was to give voice to what residents all over the region are already seeing at their doorsteps.

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Natasha Blakely

Judge: Lawsuit can proceed against Flint water contractor

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge on Monday refused to dismiss a lawsuit against an engineering company, which is accused of not doing enough to stop the flow of lead-contaminated water in Flint in 2015.

Four families are suing Veolia North America. The company did not participate in the recent $626 million settlement with Flint residents, mostly paid by the state.

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The Associated Press

A small, red-bellied snake might be reconsidered for protection under the Endangered Species Act

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Michigan Radio

Flint water crisis settlement claims process begins this week

By Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Michigan Radio

Ohio company will pay nearly $250K for Michigan fish kill

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) — A paper mill in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has agreed to pay nearly $250,000 to settle an investigation of a fish kill in the Escanaba River, state regulators said.

A “catastrophic pipe failure” at the Verso Corp. site in Escanaba resulted in a discharge of partially treated wastewater in August 2020, regulators said.

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The Associated Press

South Haven adds Lake Michigan restrictions in bad weather

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A southwestern Michigan town that swells with summer visitors is taking steps to keep people out of Lake Michigan during hazardous conditions.

The city council in South Haven agreed to install gates to close popular piers at certain times. Swimmers also could be fined if they’re in the lake, though surfers or kite boarders who embrace big wind and waves would be exempt.

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The Associated Press

Road salt threatens Michigan lakes and rivers. Can an alternative take hold?

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Bridge Michigan

Great Lakes Moment: Kirtland’s warblers are thriving in Michigan

Once living on the brink of extinction, the Kirtland’s warbler is now thriving thanks to collaborative conservation efforts. 

The Kirtland’s warbler is one of the largest and rarest songbirds in North America. This handsome yellow-and-gray warbler is named for Dr. Jared Kirtland, on whose farm near Cleveland, Ohio, the first specimen was collected in 1851.

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John Hartig

Year in Review 2021: The two-beer bear and other Lake Huron canine adventures

Walking my 90-pound shepherd a few days after Christmas in our suburban neighborhood, the jangling bell on his collar seemed a festive touch, one of the neighbors told us. 

But it was more of a reminder of our August trip to Drummond Island than some holiday décor.  

My 11-day summer vacation this year involved throwing my dog, some swimsuits and a lot of sunscreen in my car and heading up to visit generous friends with houses along Grand Lake (north of Alpena) and Lake Huron.

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Sandra Svoboda

Year in Review 2021: As the year ends, I’m still thinking about summer joy… and summer flooding

Like many people, I made some really big changes to my life in 2021. One of the more significant changes was leaving my former role at WDET, Detroit’s NPR station, and joining the team at Great Lakes Now as associate producer.  

Having joined the GLN team in October, it still feels like a brand new experience for me as the calendar year comes to a close, but so far, I’m learning a lot from Supervising Producer Rob Green and our fearless Program Director Sandra Svoboda.

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Anna Sysling

Should Benton Harbor residents have to pay for water they can’t drink?

By Lindsey Smith, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Michigan Radio

O Christmas Tree: Is your Christmas tree environmentally friendly?

Earlier this month, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared December 2021 as “Christmas Tree Month” in Michigan.  

It’s a move that makes sense — the Christmas tree industry provides jobs and bolsters the national and state economy. 

Michigan’s integrated network of family farmers, processors, wholesalers and retailers, work together to ensure a quality product that is enjoyed by millions throughout our state and country,” Whitmer said in a statement.  

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Rachel Duckett

High costs, few customers: Benton Harbor water woes loom for Michigan cities

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Bridge Michigan

I Speak for the Fish: Center stage alongside Great Lakes steelhead trout 

In the spirit of yuletide reminiscing, I recently found myself looking back at my journey to bringing more freshwater fish content to PBS audiences. One particularly poignant and mildly terrifying turning point was the first time I stepped onto a really big stage to speak on behalf of freshwater fish.  

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Kathy Johnson

US requires higher safety standards for more pipelines

By John Flesher, Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A new federal regulation requires higher safety standards for pipelines carrying oil and other hazardous liquids through the Great Lakes region, marine coastal waters and beaches, officials said Thursday.

The rule issued by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration designates those locations as “high consequence” zones where pipeline operators must step up inspections, repairs and other measures to avoid spills.

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The Associated Press

Proposed eastern sandhill cranes hunt in breeding states stirs controversy

This article was republished here with permission from Great Lakes Echo.

By Nicholas Simon, Great Lakes Echo

Efforts by politicians to create a hunting season for eastern sandhill cranes in both Wisconsin and Michigan are stirring debates among hunters, farmers and birders.

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Great Lakes Echo

Tests show lead in Benton Harbor tap water finally dropping

By Michael Phillis, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The amount of lead in Benton Harbor, Michigan’s drinking water has declined, new testing shows, after three straight years of elevated results compelled residents to consume bottled water and prompted a hurried effort to replace old pipes.

Lead levels in the majority Black city’s drinking water are now just within standards set by the state that if exceeded, force a utility to take corrective action and inform residents of a problem, according to state officials.

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The Associated Press

Enbridge seeks federal jurisdiction in oil pipeline dispute

By John Flesher, Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge Energy moved Wednesday to shift to federal court a Michigan lawsuit seeking shutdown of an oil pipeline that runs beneath a channel linking two of the Great Lakes.

The Canadian company argued that a 2019 lawsuit filed in a state court by Attorney General Dana Nessel should be heard by U.S.

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The Associated Press

Pictured Rocks to begin charging 1st entrance fee in March

MUNISING, Mich. (AP) — Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore will soon begin charging visitors entrance fees for the first time in the 55-year history of the tourist destination in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Park officials announced Monday that the park along Lake Superior will start charging visitor fees starting March 1, 2022, and that camping fees and lighthouse tour fees will increase as of Jan.

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The Associated Press

Energy News Roundup: Duke Energy’s Financial Assistance Program, Propane Price Increases in Minnesota, Pennsylvania Prepares for Increased Energy Costs

Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup. 

Click on the headline to read the full story: 

Indiana: 

  • More than $330,000 available in winter energy bill assistance for Duke Energy Indiana customers 

Duke Energy Indiana set aside over $330,000 for customers facing difficulty paying their winter electricity bills.

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/energy-news-roundup-financial-assistance-program/

Maya Sundaresan

Drinking Water News Roundup: Infrastructure funding in Minnesota, Wisconsin, false confidence in Michigan water

From lead pipes to PFAS, drinking water contamination is a major issue plaguing cities and towns all around the Great Lakes. Cleaning up contaminants and providing safe water to everyone is an ongoing public health struggle. 

Keep up with drinking water-related developments in the Great Lakes area. 

Click on the headline to read the full-story: 

Illinois: 

  • Illinois To Receive $1.7 Billion To Replace Lead Pipes—1340 WJOL 

Illinois is expected to receive roughly $1.7 billion from the federal infrastructure bill to help address the issue of lead pipes in the state. 

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/drinking-water-roundup-infrastructure-funding/

Maya Sundaresan

More people are worried about the health of the Great Lakes, according to poll

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/people-worried-health-great-lakes-poll/

Michigan Radio

For the first time, “rock snot” nuisance algal blooms found in Lower Peninsula trout stream

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/rock-snot-algal-blooms-lower-peninsula/

Michigan Radio

Lower Rates: New flood risk assessment will reduce insurance rates in the Great Lakes region

Approximately 85,000 homeowners in the Great Lakes region will see rate reductions for the first time because of the National Flood Insurance Program’s new risk rating system, experts say.

The flood insurance program is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It provides coverage to property owners, renters and businesses to help them recover from floods faster.

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/flood-risk-assessment-reduce-insurance-rates/

Taylor Haelterman

First phase of cleanup at former steel mill site complete. Now what?

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/first-phase-cleanup-steel-mill-site/

Michigan Radio

Great Lakes Moment: Small habitat patches can have big ecological impact

Great Lakes Moment is a monthly column written by Great Lakes Now Contributor John Hartig. Publishing the author’s views and assertions does not represent endorsement by Great Lakes Now or Detroit Public Television. 

Contradicting the historical conservation planning tenet that gave preference to protecting larger, more intact areas, a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has shown that small, isolated patches of habitat are inordinately important for biodiversity conservation.  

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/small-habitat-patches-ecological-impact/

John Hartig

What’s Your Water Source: Who gets their water from Lake Huron

Where do we get our water? It’s a critically important and highly regulated question, yet it took some digging to find the answers.  

Specific to Lake Huron, there are a total of 30 public water supply systems across Michigan and Ontario that source surface water for nearly 3 million people to drink. 

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/water-source-lake-huron/

Alex Hill

Rising Cost of Water in Michigan Leads to Affordability Problems

By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/cost-water-michigan-affordability-problems/

Circle of Blue

Spike Sustained: As COVID-19 policies relax, park attendance (mostly) remains strong

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many Great Lakes national parks experienced record visitation as people sought to experience the outdoors and participate in safe forms of recreation. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was one of those parks. According to unofficial data from the National Park Service, over 1.7 million people visited in 2020, the highest attendance on record.  

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/covid-policies-park-attendance/

Noah Bock

Another seawall collapse due to gravel pile stored too close to Detroit River

By Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/seawall-collapse-gravel-detroit-river/

Michigan Radio

Michigan drops oil pipeline suit, refocuses on separate case

By John Flesher, Associated Press

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer abandoned a lawsuit Tuesday aimed at shutting down an oil pipeline that runs through part of the Great Lakes but said the state would continue pursuing a separate case with the same goal.

Whitmer’s legal maneuver followed a federal judge’s decision earlier this month to retain jurisdiction over a suit brought by Enbridge Energy after the state revoked an easement allowing Line 5 to cross the Straits of Mackinac.

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/ap-michigan-drops-oil-pipeline-suit/

The Associated Press

Great Lakes for Sale: Veteran activist and author puts renewed spotlight on diverting Great Lakes water

Tracking Michigan’s environmental issues has been a long, rewarding and at times arduous undertaking for Dave Dempsey.  

He was an environment adviser to former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard in the 1980s and now provides policy advice to the Traverse City non-profit For Love of Water. In between were stops at the Michigan Environmental Council and the International Joint Commission.

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/12/great-lakes-veteran-activist-author/

Gary Wilson

New lead testing method could reveal higher levels in water

By Michael Phillis, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — For years, testing of the tap water in an upscale Detroit suburb showed the city was in the clear. Then residents got a notice seemingly out of the blue: Their water could be contaminated with elevated levels of lead.

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Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-lead-testing-method-higher-levels/

The Associated Press

Ignore the buzz, here’s why Enbridge Line 5 won’t likely close anytime soon

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan and Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

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Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/enbridge-line-5-wont-close/

Bridge Michigan

Fossil Finds: Great Lakes coral and sea life remnants says much about its past and future

The Great Lakes region wasn’t always the freshwater realm we know today: rewind to a couple centuries ago and it was actually covered in tropical seawater. That’s why many of the fossils found in the area today are portions of coral reefs and ancient sea creatures.  

“When you think of Michigan or Illinois, you imagine cold and snow, but it wasn’t always that way.

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Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/fossil-great-lakes-coral-remnants/

Maya Sundaresan

Whitmer proposes $300M in water funding for communities

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday proposed $300 million in water spending to help local utilities address elevated lead levels, plan for pipe replacement and connect users of contaminated wells to municipal supplies.

The governor said the funding would expand her $500 million MI Clean Water Plan, some of which has been authorized since it was unveiled more than a year ago.

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Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/11/ap-whitmer-300m-water-funding-communities/

The Associated Press