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Michigan Radio: Environment

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Assorted stories from Michigan Radio.

Assorted stories from Michigan Radio.
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Michigan PR


Assorted stories from Michigan Radio.




A toxicologist warns of a lame-duck legislative effort to change toxic cleanup criteria in Michigan

Scientists and public health advocates are voicing concern over a bill currently making its way through Michigan’s lame-duck Legislature. They say that SB 1244 , sponsored by state Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland), could prevent the state from using the most up-to-date science when determining what levels of toxic contamination should trigger a cleanup.


Half the trees in Michigan cities could be killed

Some cities in Michigan could lose half of all their trees due to disease or pests. Foresters are working to reduce the potential devastation. “So, I just wanted to show you, this is a neighborhood with old maple trees," Kerry Gray said as she led the way down a tree-lined street in Ann Arbor. She's the urban forester for the city. She’s worried about losing a lot of the city’s trees to a pest or disease. It’s happened before.


How the insurance industry could help change climate skeptics’ minds

This week, Stateside has been bringing you a series of conversations about the recent National Climate Assessment , a report compiled by 13 federal agencies that breaks down how climate change is projected to impact different regions of the United States. Andrew Hoffman is a the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He joined Stateside to talk about the risk climate change poses to the economy, and how that risk might help...


In hot water: how climate change is impacting the Great Lakes

The federal government’s recent National Climate Assessment broke down how our planet’s changing climate is projected to impact the United States region by region. Headlines about the report have used words like "chilling," "ominous," and "devastation." So what changes can residents of the Great Lakes state expect to see in coming decades?


Climate change will be costly, especially for at-risk communities

On Black Friday, the federal government released its National Climate Assessment. Compiled by 13 federal agencies, the landmark report spells out the consequences we’re already seeing — and that we’ll continue to see worsen over time — as a result of climate change. Maria Carmen Lemos is one of the authors of the Midwest chapter of this assessment. She’s also the associate dean of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability and co-directs the Great Lakes Integrated...


Stateside: Industry still dumping PFAS; lame duck drama; proposal to scale back wetlands protections

Today, we speak to MLive reporter Paula Gardner, co-author of an investigative report that found PFAS chemicals are still being released in large quantities by businesses across the state. Plus, a new bill proposed in the state Senate would remove protections from some Michigan wetlands on private property. Opponents say it would have devastating effects, but supporters say it's protecting property owners from government overreach.


Environmentalist, business leader react to proposal scaling back wetlands protection

A bill sponsored by State Senator Tom Casperson would remove protections from some Michigan’s wetlands, inland lakes, and streams . In a recent letter, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Trout Unlimited, and the National Wildlife Federation outlined their opposition to the proposed legislation. Stateside's Lester Graham talked to a business leader who supports the bill, as well as an enviornmentalist who opposes it.


Stateside: Former EPA admin on PFAS; cross-continental Great Lakes research; microplastics in beer

Today, there's no federal or state restriction on the level of PFAS contamination considered a public health threat. What there is, is an advisory. We speak to a former EPA official who helped create it. Plus, what can we learn about our own freshwater seas from researchers studying the African Great Lakes?


DEQ expert who warned of PFAS risk in 2012 explains why it took the state years to respond

How well has the State of Michigan responded to the problem of PFAS contamination of our groundwater? That was the focus of a Grand Rapids hearing Tuesday convened by U.S. Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich.


Move over "Rocket Man" – Lake Orion astronaut records original music video in space

Since being selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000, Lake Orion native Andrew Feustel has been on three space missions and spent more than 61 hours on space walks outside the shuttle. While floating 250 miles above the Earth earlier this year, Feustel added something new to his space resume: singer-songwriter. He recorded a music video for “All Around the World,” a song written by his friend Gord Sinclair.


An efficient furnace can pay for itself in savings

Soon, you’ll start seeing your energy bills start to rise each month because of the cold weather. That’s never fun. But, you might be paying a lot more than necessary to heat your home. We decided to look into whether a new efficient furnace adds up to much in the way of energy savings.


How NASA’s mission to “touch the sun” could make us safer on Earth

On August 12, 2018, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched into space on a mission to unveil some of the greatest mysteries surrounding our sun. The probe features a 10 square meter heat shield made from carbon foam that can withstand up to 3,000 degrees without incinerating. The front of the probe is covered in a synthetic sapphire crystal that reflects around six megawatts of sunlight; enough energy to power a small village. Justin Kasper is a lead investigator on the project. He joined...


How two sisters went from vegetarian PETA supporters to livestock farmers

For years, sisters Allie and Elise Thorp defended animal rights by practicing strict vegetarianism and supporting activist organizations like PETA. But after deciding to reintroduce meat into their diets, the two discovered an unexpected way to promote animal welfare: raising livestock.


From wilderness to wasteland: How the destruction of Michigan’s forests shaped our state

This is part three of our series "An Idea on the Land." Part one is here . Part two is here . It’s the summer of 1831. A young French writer arrives in Michigan, hoping to get a glimpse of untouched American wilderness. He sets off from Detroit. "A mile out of town," he writes, "the road goes into forest and never comes out of it."


PFAS causes 'Do not eat the fish' advisories

The State of Michigan is finding industrial chemicals known as PFAS in the tissue of fish. So it's been issuing “Don’t Eat the Fish” advisories along lakes, rivers and streams. But there are concerns about whether state officials are doing as much as they should. Before we get too far into the story, we have to start with a little science. The reason PFAS chemical contamination in fish is such a concern is because of something called bioaccumulation . If there is a toxic substance in the...


PFAS: How much do residents trust state officials?

UPDATE: This story was updated at 3:53 p.m. This week, the Environment Report is looking at industrial chemicals called per- and polyfluoralkyl substances – or PFAS. People all over Michigan have questions about these chemicals that are being found in their drinking water.


PFAS: What are the possible health risks?

This week, we’re looking at PFAS chemicals: they're industrial chemicals that have contaminated water sources around the state. PFAS chemicals are used to make a lot of products stain and water resistant.


Your questions about PFAS answered

Over the past two years, Michiganders across the state have become aware of the chemicals known as PFAS. They first made news when elevated levels were found in more than 20 private water wells in Oscoda. Now, there are 35 known contamination sites around the state.


PFAS: Why are we suddenly hearing about this?

There have been more news stories in recent months about water contamination from a group of industrial chemicals. PFAS chemical pollution seems to have come out of nowhere. That’s not exactly true. PFAS contamination has been known to be a problem. What's different is we’re discovering the problem is bigger than imagined.


PFAS: What is this stuff?

In recent months, the State of Michigan has found several places where drinking water and fish are contaminated by a class of chemicals called PFAS. This pollution is coming from a variety of sources.