Collaboration on the Great Lakes front, climate change, solar power and wolves: this week in environmental news

By Kary Askew Garcia, MNA Intern

Every Friday, MNA gathers news related to the environment from around the state and country. Here are a few highlights from what happened this week in environmental news:

Cherryland Solar Panel

Cherryland’s solar array. Photo courtesy of the Great Lakes Echo.

Community solar coming of age in Michigan (Great Lakes Echo): Cherryland Electric Cooperative’s 224-panel solar array in Grand Traverse County in Northern Michigan just celebrated its first anniversary.  The Solar Up North Alliance Community Solar Project helped introduce this project which launched on Earth Day 2013 and could be a catalyst for future solar energy projects in the state.

Great Lakes mayors flex muscle on oil, climate change (Great Lakes Echo): Mayors of Great Lakes areas have come together from the U.S. and Canada to discuss oil transportation. Citing the Kalamazoo river oil spill incident and the Lac-Megantic, Quebec train accident and explosion resulting in 47 deaths, the major part of their discussion was these events and taking future actions. 

Don’t Poison me! A big win for baby owls (like this one) and other wildlife (Huffington Post): Alicia Hermance chronicles the rescue of a fallen spotted owl and its recovery in her blog post. She also highlights the dangers of rat poisons. Rat poisons are easily available at hardware stores and if placed outside, owls are at risk of getting sick from consuming the poison.

The right call on climate change (Huffington Post): U.S. Representative Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) of California’s 24th District discusses her views on how the new EPA regulations can improve American health, climate change and create clean energy jobs. “By 2030, the EPA plan will cut carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide, dropping totals below 2005 levels,” Capps wrote in her blog post.

wolf map

A map showing the ratio of wolf to coyote throughout Yellowstone and Riding Mountain National Parks. Photo courtesy of Conservation Magazine.

Reintroducing wolves is only effective at large scales (Conservation Magazine): The eradication of wolves in the U.S. has greatly effected the ecological carnivorous system –– usually wolves feed on coyotes, who feed on red foxes. Since wolves have severely decreased in numbers, coyotes have increased, preying on more red foxes. Scientists have been experimenting with ratios of wolves to coyotes throughout North America to study its effects on the ecosystem.

Great Lakes Commons charter targets shared waters concept (Great Lakes Echo): The Great Lakes Commons is a group with a vision to unite all those regions governing the lakes to come together and form a mutual protection and care plan. They officially introduced their social charter on Thursday. “The charter will gather the beliefs and commitments of the different peoples of the bio-region, and by doing this, we will be asserting the legitimacy of these ideas and our role in shaping the governance for our lakes,” Alicia Bradley said. Bradley is co-directer of the Milwaukee Water Commons and a leader of the Great Lakes Commons effort.

 

Project in UP halted, EPA limits emissions and blacklights save bats: this week in environmental news

By Kary Askew Garcia, MNA Intern

Every Friday, MNA gathers news related to the environment from around the state and country. Here are a few highlights from what happened this week in environmental news:

Court upholds UP ethanol plant review but project likely dropped (Great Lakes Echo): A federal appeals court has upheld the decision to review a $100 million construction subsidy in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The U.S. Department of Energy declared the project to be void of significant harm to the environment. Despite this, recent mandates calling for the elimination of cellulosic ethanol and an investor backing out may have closed the project.

An East Lansing resident explores options in the East Lansing Food Co-op. Photo by Corey Damocles courtesy of The State News.

An East Lansing resident explores options in the East Lansing Food Co-op. Photo by Corey Damocles courtesy of The State News.

Local grocers specialize to thrive (The State News): The East Lansing Food Co-op, among other stores, have tried ways to make them stand out to customers. The co-op is different compared to other grocery stores and provides organic and locally grown food, something a little different than at the supermarket. Owner David Finet said the co-op works directly with its producers when buying products.

EPA releases much-anticipated limits on power plant emissions (Huffington Post): The Environmental Protection Agency announced one of its new mandates: a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030. “For the sake of our families’ health and our kids’ future, we have a moral obligation to act on climate,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Twitter chat about new EPA carbon pollution regulations (New York Times): The New York Times hosted a Twitter question and answer session with environmental reporter Coral Davenport. Davenport had an exchange with those asking questions about the new EPA regulations and their effects on coal-producing states, among other topics.

A map tracking cases of white-nose syndrome. Map by Lindsey Hefferman, courtesy of Conservation Magazine.

A map tracking cases of white-nose syndrome. Map by Lindsey Hefferman, courtesy of Conservation Magazine.

Scientists diagnose white-nose syndrome in bats using ultraviolet lights (Conservation Magazine): The white-nose syndrome is devastating to many hibernating bats. The disease comes from a fungus and infects bats as they hibernate and often kill them. A major guide for scientists to start tackling this disease is to find its location, although it is difficult to locate as testing bats for the disease calls for killing them.