Welcome to one of the Great Lakes region's first environmental issues blogs. The North American Great Lakes contain 18% of the world's available surface freshwater and are a source of beauty, spiritual renewal and livelihood. Keep track of Great Lakes news and comment or disagree politely to frequent posts.
There are continued reports of this Presidential panel on ocean policy, with the Great Lakes mentioned as an afterthought. (For example, read here.) What if anything does this mean for the Lakes?
Reminds one of the famous remark by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar about her assignment to the Senate oceans subcommittee: "But when I got there the first day I realized all the other senators had an ocean. Olympia Snowwas on there, John Kerry was on there. And I wrote a note to Frank Lautenbarg and I said, 'I am the only senator on the oceans subcommittee without
an ocean.' And he wrote back, "Just come back next year and ask for
UPDATE: As a helpful commenter has posted below, one of the five hearings of the task force is in Cleveland on September 28. Details here. Thanks!
If true, this is a better environmental impact than Cash for Clunkers seemed to be generating earlier.
In addition, the program provides good news for
the environment. That’s because 84 percent of consumers traded in trucks and 59
percent purchased passenger cars. The average fuel economy of the vehicles
traded in was 15.8 miles per gallon and the average fuel economy of vehicles
purchased is 24.9 mpg. – a 58 percent improvement.
In the ongoing game of chicken over Michigan's wetlands program, the DEQ has notified the staff of the program that layoff notices are going out within two weeks. If funding is not found and appropriated by the Legislature around then or earlier, the program will be disrupted, and could end October 1. And so proceeds one of the most anti-environmental initiatives of the last 14 years in the state capital, proposed by DEQ itself.
How did Minnesota conservation and environmental groups win voter approval of a sales tax increase for the outdoors last November in the teeth of a major recession? Here's how, or at least part of the story as told in the Nature Conservancy's magazine.
Without reading the decision, it's difficult to say, but this decision appears to redefine the common law principle of public trust. The doctrine has been interpreted as meaning the public owns all land inward from the lake to the ordinary high-water mark; the article implies it's now only land underwater at a given time. That excludes public crossing within land exposed during low water periods, and it may mean more.
As the New York Times reports, the Governor of Minnesota, who had won so many plaudits earlier in his seven years in office for exercising strong leadership on climate change, is backing away in haste now that he has GOP Presidential hopes.
Those hopes are one of the few things that distinguish Gov. Pawlenty from other elected officials who talk tough on global warming. They are all for carbon emission reductions that will take place far after they're out of office. It's the ones that might take place in the near future they can't abide.
Gary Wilson's Great Lakes Town Hall post this week is important and needed. A Great Lakes not-for-profit that is very diverse and talented has, for whatever reason, largely lined up behind what federal bureaucrats have proposed for the first year of Great Lakes initiative. This doesn't serve the Lakes or the people who live among them.
It's come back, only in the form of a plastics industry campaign. Excellent reporting by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Minnesota just became the first state to ban BPA in children's drinking products. The industry wants to stop it there. A four-month investigation by the Journal Sentinel reveals a highly
calibrated campaign by plastics makers to fight federal regulation of
BPA, downplay its risks and discredit anyone who characterizes the
chemical as a health threat. The newspaper examined thousands of pages
of Internal Revenue Service reports, disclosure forms and e-mails
between government scientists and lobbyists as well as the industry's
own public relations materials.
documents offer a rare glimpse at the hardball politics of chemical
regulation, where judgments about safety are made not necessarily on
the merits of science but because of the clout of lobbyists working the