Freshwater Weekly: June 11, 2021
June 11, 2021
THIS WEEK: Bills Will Allow Sand and Gravel Mining Near Residential Areas + Scientists are Awarded $1 million to Fight Microplastics + Low Precipitation Contributes to Loss of 25 Trillion Gallons in Great Lakes + Federal Ban on PFAS in Food Packaging Introduced
Bills Will Allow Sand and Gravel Mining Near Residential Areas
Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, announced he has introduced new bills that would permit gravel companies to operate closer to residential areas and move the approval process of mining permits away from local governments to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). We fear the proposed legislation lacks strong language that would allow EGLE to deny a permit based on impact to water quality and other community concerns. Michigan residents please contact your representative to encourage them to vote no and allow communities the few protections they currently have around sand and gravel mining.
Scientists are Awarded $1 Million to Fight Microplastics
Where microplastics originate and how they travel will be the focus of a $1 million study by a group of Canadian universities. One component of the study is to identify microplastic’s fingerprints, allowing them to determine where they came from and more about how this pervasive pollution migrates.
Low Precipitation Contributes to Loss of 25 Trillion Gallons in Great Lakes
After staggering high lake levels last year, there is a noticeable drop in lake water levels. Mainly due to below-average rain and snow, the Great Lakes lost 25 trillion gallons of water in one-year. Rivers connecting one Great Lake to another continue to have average flows whereas tributaries to the Great Lakes have greatly reduced flows. For example, the Detroit River has an average flow of 111% and the Grand River in Grand Rapids, a tributary to Lake Michigan, is at 48% flow. These wild swings are another symptom of climate change.
Federal Ban on PFAS in Food Packaging Introduced
One of the most direct ways people are exposed to the toxic chemicals called PFAS is in food packaging and water. Exposure to these chemicals builds in our body and can lead to a variety of health problems. A federal ban on the use of PFAS in food packaging may soon be introduced by Michigan Congresswoman, Debbie Dingell.