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Michigan may authorize new uses for toxic coal ash

Michigan may authorize new uses for toxic coal ash by Great Lakes Echo

One of the bills that cleared the Michigan legislature this session was a provision that allows certain bio-waste materials to be re-used for beneficial purposes. These substances include things like cement kiln dust, wood pulp and coal ash. Coal ash is the leftover residue from coal burned by electric power plants. The bill permits coal ash to be used in road construction, but it may also be used in agriculture as a fertilizer supplement, causing some environmental advocates to become concerned. Current State’s Kevin Lavery speaks with Republican State Representative Wayne Schmidt, the bill’s main sponsor, who strongly states that coal ash is completely safe and does not pose any environmental threats. Continue Reading →

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Photo Friday: Tire trash

Trash along a pedestrian walkway in Bridgeport, Mich. Image: Diana Popp Rossiter

Diana Popp Rossiter took this image in early June during a walk through Lyle Park in Bridgeport Township, about six miles southeast of  Saginaw. The pedestrian trail starts at a restored historic bridge across the Cass River in downtown Bridgeport and extends through Lyle Park which runs along side the Cass River. “Running alongside the trail is a railroad track and between the tracks and trail is a low area of land,” Popp Rossiter writes. “That low area of land is filled with trash that has been dumped by polluters over the years and also trash that gets deposited there every year by the flood waters. “This trash includes seven tires that are usually sitting there with water in them serving as a mosquito breeding source.” Continue Reading →

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Public Service Announcement: Recyclers launch statewide campaign

Image: Michigan Recycling Coalition

The Michigan Recycling Coalition, has launched a  state-wide recycling campaign, Recycle, MI, to increase recycling awareness and practices. The campaign is to help residents and businesses reduce waste, according to a press release. It encourages people to start recycling at their homes and work places, volunteer at recycling events or facilities and distribute  information about recycling in their town, the campaign’s website explains. Recycle, MI has been promoted on radio stations that began this spring mostly in southeast Michigan and will continue in different regions throughout the summer, said Kerrin O’Brien, executive director of the group. “We really saw a need to promote recycling across the state — to unite Michiganders under this logo and message,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Michigan seeks to expand use of coal ash

Environmental groups say they’re OK with using coal ash in cement, but have concerns about other, “unencapsulated” uses. (Photo by Brian Knox via Creative Commons)

For at least the past decade, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has sought comprehensive regulations on reusing industrial byproducts like coal ash, the material generated from burning coal for electricity, as an alternative to sending it to landfills.

The “beneficial use” bills, which recently passed the state House, would formally regulate the use of over a dozen forms of industrial byproducts across a variety of sectors, including construction fill and on agricultural land. Continue Reading →

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