Weekly News Roundup: Toxic Dredged Materials, Line 5 Safety, and More

In case you missed them, here were some of the Great Lakes restoration stories that made news last week:

 

mLive reports that a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers are urging the U.S. Department of Commerce to maintain the size of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron. This follows President Trump’s executive order to review protected ocean and aquatic areas for potential offshore oil and gas drilling. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release a long-awaited study examining the potential environmental effects of measures recommended to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, reports the Detroit News. And an editorial in the Watertown Daily News praised congressional lawmakers who voted to fully fund the GLRI, following the Trump Administration’s proposed elimination of the program.

 

The U.S. EPA awarded a $120,000 grant to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, reports the Lake County News-Sun. The grant will be used to assess the health of Waukegan Harbor. In other news, the Erie Times-News reports that Pennsylvania State University was awarded a GLRI grant to stabilize streambanks.

 

The Chicago Tribune reports that activists are trying to prevent toxic materials dredged from Indiana Harbor and Canal in an East Chicago storage facility. The activists are urging U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky to oppose the proposed action by the Army Corps of Engineers.

 

Recent inspections show that the Line 5 pipeline running under the Straits of Mackinac have been bent and deformed in several locations, according to mLive. A spokesperson from Enbridge Energy, which owns and maintains the oil pipeline, says the deformities do not pose a safety risk, pointing to recent pressure testing showing the pipeline is secure. Meanwhile, Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Michigan state officials held a meeting to receive public input on a recent report analyzing alternatives to Line 5. The Great Lakes advocacy organization FLOW has called the results of this report into question, reports WDET. FLOW says the report underestimates the risk of an oil spill from the pipeline, the impact such an accident would have on the lakes, and the amount it would cost to clean it up.

 

Hazardous blue green algae has begun appearing in western Lake Erie, according to the Buffalo News. The harmful algae bloom is the first in western Lake Erie this year, although more are expected to form throughout the summer.

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