Freshwater Future Weekly: May 6, 2022

THIS WEEK: EPA Recommends Denial of Mining Permit + Register for All About Water Virtual Event + Opportunities Await to Protect Ohio’s Waters + Michigan Adopts Climate Plan
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EPA Recommends Denial of Mining Permit

Last week, we shared that the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa contested a wetland permit for construction of a copper-nickel mine. Since then, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement on the contested permit, advising the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers against issuing the permit, claiming that the project might have detrimental effects to the health and safety of the Fond du Lac Band through increasing levels of mercury and other pollutants. However, this action is only a recommendation, not a ruling that has to be followed by the decision maker, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. You can share your support for the Band’s actions to protect the St. Louis River and Lake Superior from harmful mining pollution. It is easy, you can click here and through our online system send the message directly to the Army Corps.

Register for All About Water Virtual Event: What is SRF (State Revolving Fund) and How Can These Funds Help Your Community and Business?

Upgrading drinking water systems and removing lead pipes are costly expenditures for cities and municipalities. Join us on June 22 to learn more about new money available for water systems to upgrade drinking water systems and remove lead pipes.  This source of funding will be around for five-years, and a significant percentage is targeted for disadvantaged communities. The session will focus on ensuring funds are distributed equitably, how to urge your community to get these funds, and tips for minority contractors to get government contracts related to these projects.

Opportunities Await to Protect Ohio’s Waters

Last week we shared that Ohio weakened protections for over 36,000 miles of seasonal or ephemeral streams. Although we are disappointed with this new law, there are still many opportunities to protect the streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and drinking water in Ohio.  This summer the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will release a draft pollutant standard for the Maumee River, called total maximum daily load or TMDL.  Freshwater Future will be following the process and we’ll let you know when public comments will be accepted. 

Michigan Adopts Climate Plan

Being carbon neutral by 2050 is the goal set by Michigan’s released MI Healthy Climate Plan.  The plan includes strategies for the next eight years to ramp up clean energy and ensures 40% of state climate funding is directed to environmental justice communities. Freshwater Future and our partners will be watching carefully to assess progress and transparency on the State’s strategies to ensure that environmental justice communities benefit from implementation programs.