The Environment Report A Michigan-based environmental news report that comes to you twice a week.
The Environment Report

The Environment Report

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A Michigan-based environmental news report that comes to you twice a week.More from The Environment Report »

Most Recent Episodes

Why we get into conflicts with smart animals

If you've ever tried to keep a raccoon out of your trash can, you know they're smart. At my house, it takes a brick on top of the trash can and a bungee cord on top of the lid to keep the raccoons out. New research looks at how animals with complex cognitive abilities might do better in cities, but could end up in more conflicts with people.

EPA wants your input on next phase of Great Lakes cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency is starting to plan what's next for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. We're eight years into that huge cleanup and restoration effort.

Environmentalists say Enbridge tunnel risky

A Canadian company will turn in a report tomorrow outlining whether it thinks a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac is a feasible option for its pipeline. A tunnel was suggested by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Enbridge owns and operates a pair of 65 year old oil and gas pipelines known as Line 5. It lies on the bottom of the Straits between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. According to the Detroit News , Enbridge is expected to say a tunnel 300 feet underground is feasible.

Changing how people get paid for solar power

Until recently, if a home solar array produced more electricity than the house used, it would go through the meter onto the grid. Residents with solar power arrays got paid for that power at the same rate as the power company charged other residents. Power that comes in/power that goes out: same price. This even exchange is called net metering.

Bugs can tell us whether a river is healthy

Eleven years ago on a cold January day, volunteers for the Huron River Watershed Council , Rochelle Breitenbach and Mary Bajcz trudged through the snow and thicket to get to a pristine little stream that flows into the Huron River.

EPA shifts gears (again) on chemical in paint strippers linked to dozens of deaths

The Environmental Protection Agency and at least one retailer have done an about face on a chemical linked to dozens of deaths, but health advocates want more. Methylene chloride is an ingredient in paint strippers. It's sold at hardware stores and it's also used commercially. Serious acute risks Beth Kemler is with the group Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. "I don't think that there is a way that you could possibly warn the public enough. I think it just needs to be off the shelves," she says

EPA shifts gears (again) on chemical in paint strippers linked to dozens of deaths

A double whammy for heat islands: fewer trees in cities and more paved surfaces

The amount of tree cover in our cities is dropping, and we have more paved surfaces. Those are the main findings from a national study by the U.S. Forest Service.

A double whammy for heat islands: fewer trees in cities and more paved surfaces

Romulus blames high lead levels on one vacant home that's not vacant

Three commuities in Michigan are taking a much closer look for lead in their drinking water this year. Houghton, home of Michigan Tech up in the U.P., and the Detroit suburbs of Beverly Hills and Romulus. All three cities did routine testing for lead in water last year. And their lead levels were higher than the federal "action level" of 15 parts per billion. Houghton was barely over the limit and is tweaking how it treats the water. Beverly Hills had the highest level — but that's only because

State agency decisions should make it easier for some companies to add solar, co-gen projects

The state's energy regulating agency has issued some decisions that should relieve some of the financial burden on large companies that want to become greener. Bell's Brewery near Kalamazoo wants to be a sustainable company for generations to come. So being able to produce cleaner energy on site would be a good thing. Walker Modic is Bell's sustainability manager. He says he hasn't been able to make a business case for any green projects because of something called standby rates. Standby rates

State agency decisions should make it easier for some companies to add solar, co-gen projects

American Gut Project explores our bodies' microbiomes

The first major results are in from the American Gut Project . It's a citizen science project to get a better understanding of the microbial communities inside our bodies. People pay $99 to send in a sample – a swab from their hands, their mouth, or a stool sample. Daniel McDonald is the project's scientific director at the University of California-San Diego. "So it turns out that most of the people sending us samples tend to send us fecal samples. We think it must just be the sexy thing to do,"

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