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Monday, October 16, 2017

Fish farm on Au Sable River 'clearly violates' law, judge says

Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com
GRAYLING, MI - A judge questioned the use of public property for a private fish farm on the East Branch of the Au Sable River.
Anglers of the Au Sable River filed a lawsuit against Harrietta Hills Fish Farm - which operates an old state fish hatchery - alleging that it pollutes the downstream fishery with fish waste and uneaten food.
Crawford County Circuit Judge George Mertz said that Anglers of the Au Sable River has no legal standing to challenge alleged violations of public-use restrictions and deed restrictions. Only the state has the right to sue - not a private citizen or group.
But, he said: "This Court would find that there is no question of fact that the operation of a private commercial fish farm clearly violates the statute and the deed restrictions. ... (I)t is clear that the intent of the state in granting the property to the County was that it remain open and used for the benefit of the general public for recreating, fishing, and historical purposes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How advocates helped lead Michigan’s capital city to a future without coal

The impending closure of the Otto E. Eckert coal plant is one factor guiding Lansing, Michigan's utility planning process.

Nearly 10 years ago, the municipally owned Lansing Board of Water & Light floated plans for a new $1 billion coal-fired power plant to replace an aging coal plant just south of the capital city’s downtown.
While utility planning for the future looked quite different then, the proposal was met with swift backlash from many in the greater Lansing community who saw coal as a step backward. The BWL also wasn’t alone among Michigan utilities at the time planning a future with more coal.
Based on public pressure and years-long community engagement, the BWL ended up building a 100 megawatt (MW) gas-powered cogeneration plant to effectively replace the 375 MW Eckert Plant.
But less than 10 miles west of Eckert, the BWL owns another coal plant, the 160 MW Erickson Plant. Over the years, Erickson — completed in 1973 — had a less defined future with vague, moving targets of when it might be closed down.
By early 2014, though, the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club had been looking into the two plants, finding a long history of self-reported air pollution violations. This provided an in-road for action, according to the group, which issued a notice of intent to sue the BWL in March 2015 over more than 3,500 self-reported violations at the two plants between 2009 and 2013.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Great Nutrient Collapse

The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.

Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton.

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