News

Freshwater Weekly: May 18, 2020

Posted on May 18, 2020 by

May 8, 2020

This week: Trump Administration Sued By States Over Rollbacks On Water Protection + Pipeline Permit Stalled + Illinois Sues Hilco After Implosion In Little Village + Transboundary Plants – Emitting Pollution And Causing Cancer + PFAS Virtual Town Hall for Pellston, Michigan

Trump Administration Sued By States Over Rollbacks On Water Protection

In response to the Trump Administration’s disregard of the Clean Water Act, 17 states filed a lawsuit.  States claim the rollbacks of regulations ignore science and pose devastating risks to our waterways and public health.  As a result, regulations default to states to set their own standards, making states with weaker laws more at risk of pollution and water quality degradation.


Pipeline Permit Stalled

Last week, we shared that the Canadian energy company Enbridge was proceeding to repair the Line 5 pipeline that spans the Straits of Mackinac and simultaneously working on plans to construct a tunnel.  State officials denied the utility tunnel permit for incomplete information. Additional details on the exact size of the tunnel and other specifications were requested by the Michigan Department of Energy, Great Lakes, and Environment.


Illinois Sues Hilco After Implosion In Little Village

The Illinois Attorney General is suing Hilco Redevelopment for causing air pollution after the company and its contractors left Little Village residents covered in debris after demolition of a 95-year old smokestack. Residents were exposed to respiratory disease due to compromised air quality.  Local leaders contend that the city of Chicago be accused for allowing the project to occur during a time when residents are urged to stay at home.


Transboundary Plants – Emitting Pollution And Causing Cancer

A proposed ferrochrome plant in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario (commonly referred to as the Soo) has raised concerns about the public health impacts. The plant will make stainless steel from the mineral chromite that is being mined in the region and produces chromium-6 in the smelting process, the toxic chemical of notoriety raised by the environmental activist, Erin Brockovich. This in-depth article investigates the historic industrial pollution from a tannery in the Soo on the US side and the ongoing pollution from the existing steel plant in Ontario.  The Soo area has a high rate of cancer and many residents are concerned that the proposed plant will contribute more harmful pollution.


PFAS Virtual Town Hall for Pellston, Michigan

On May 13th, 2020 a virtual live town hall meeting is scheduled to address the PFAS contamination investigation in Pellston. The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), will be updating local residents on recent discoveries. Previously, over half of the locations tested for PFAS contamination in the Pellston area indicated elevated PFAS levels. To learn more about MPART’s upcoming virtual meeting, click here.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.