News and Information related to Lake Superior, the Great Lakes, the environment and more.


Postby admin » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:47 am

The following information comes courtesy of Carri Lohse-Hanson of Minnesota Pollution Control and may be of interest to anyone involved in the Lakewide Management Plan for Lake Superior or LaMP (http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/lakesuperior/lamp2000/).


Sustainable Duluth Early Adopters program celebrated: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/ ... roup/News/
As much as we might hope this kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore because a 2007 Minnesota law makes accepting stolen metal scrap to be petty theft, three guys were just arrested in Carlton for burning plastic off copper cable they stole from MediaCom. This kind of operation is a dioxin factory (plastic+copper+burning=dioxin). One of the three men was in possession of a small amount of meth: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/ ... her_ID/38/
Minnesota Power’s Bison 3 wind project was just approved by North Dakota regulators. They are reviewing several other wind power developments: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/ ... roup/News/
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Silver Bay ecoindustrial park is October 24th: http://www.twoharborsmn.com/event/article/id/22792/
The Great Lakes Air Deposition (GLAD) program had a press conference at Great Lakes Week on Tuesday. Josephine Marcotty from the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote an article about the mercury trends and interviewed Bruce Monson from the MPCA: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/we ... 64643.html
Politicians are expressing concern about the wild rice-based sulfate standard of 10 mg/L. Since the attempt by the Minnesota legislature to drop the 10 mg/L sulfate standard until studies are finished is in limbo at the federal level, state politicians are now talking about trying to get federal legislation to change the standard. This article notes that Fond du Lac, which has treatment as State, has a 10 mg/L standard as well. PolyMet has stated numerous times that they can meet the standard: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/displa ... acle-mine/
The Sierra Club in Wisconsin as been looking at the compliance record of Minnesota taconite mines since a taconite mine is proposed in Wisconsin now (i.e., the Gogebic project in the Penokee Hills). They found the six Minnesota mines had been fined $700,000 since 2004 http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/ ... 64603.html
As of Wednesday, the Pagami wildfire was 82% contained. It had burned 92,682 acres: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/ ... roup/News/
This makes the Pagami fire larger than the 2007 Ham Lake fire, which had been the largest forest fire in the region for a century: http://www.bwcawiki.org/wiki/Ham_Lake_Fire
Public notice http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/ab ... redirect=1 : NPDES permit for a closed ash landfill at Taconite Harbor (scroll to October 11th); NPDES permit for Calumet Superior’s Duluth Terminal (scroll to October 12th)


Here’s a summary of the issues facing Wisconsin lawmakers as they attempt to draft legislation that speeds up the process for getting a permit to mine iron ore in Wisconsin. The article includes a discussion about the role of tribes and the federal government. State agencies are not the sole permitting authorities involved: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/ ... 32408.html
The Murphy Oil refinery might be Calumet now, but the new owner has picked up Murphy’s contribution to the community of providing free fluorescent lamp recycling in Superior: http://www.superiortelegram.com/event/article/id/58886/
The Great Lakes Visitor Center has a new display about the impact of climate change on Native Americans: http://www.businessnorth.com/kuws.asp?RID=4077


Wisconsin Power is considering whether to close the Presque Isle coal fired power plant or convert it to natural gas as part of their plan to comply with upcoming EPA regulations. This affect the Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, which is shipping less coal these days because of decreased demand from OPG in the lower Great Lakes. The terminal expects to grow shipping to other countries as demand for coal from their U.S. and Canadian customers decreases. This is something to track for the LaMP emissions inventory: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/ ... roup/News/
Another article about the Presque Isle plant and its possible closing or conversion. According to the article, it could be shuttered in 2017. This is something to track for the LaMP emissions inventory: http://www.miningjournal.net/page/conte ... plant.html
The Presque Isle plant had a fire in a coal hopper this week. Coal dust is highly explosive, so it was important to get this situation under control: http://www.miningjournal.net/page/conte ... ished.html

Great Lakes

If you want to see videos from Great Lakes week, go to http://greatlakesnow.org/ and hit the On Demand tab. They have pieces from each of the conference, starting on Wednesday at noon. I haven’t found a video of the GLAD press conference from Tuesday, though.
John Flesher with AP also wrote an article about the GLAD mercury press conference. It’s a good news/bad news story. Levels have dropped significantly in fish and sediment, which is definitely good news. More good news is that even though global emissions have increased, U.S. and Great Lakes state emissions have decreased, which suggests that regional emission reductions are responsible for the reductions in the fish and sediment. The bad news is that 1) we still have fish consumption advisories and unacceptably high levels in other media, 2) the sublethal effects are lower than we knew ten years ago, and 3) in some animals, levels seem to be creeping back up: http://online.wsj.com/article/AP35e01c7 ... 75f83.html
Here’s a State Journal editorial on the persistence of fish consumption advisories in Wisconsin: http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/ed ... 03286.html
Flesher also wrote an article about the GLRI: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/ ... roup/News/
Al Gore spoke at Great Lakes Week about climate change and Great Lakes issues. Here’s an article about his speech from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ ... story.html
The Echo has an article on musk (an ingredient that adds fragrance to household and personal products). Some tidbits from the article (http://greatlakesecho.org/2011/10/12/fr ... vironment/):

Musk chemicals applied to cell membranes make the cell more permeable to other toxic chemicals.
A large portion of musk produced globally is galaxolide and tonalide.
According to Keri Hornbuckle, galaxolide and tonalide are toxic to freshwater mussel larvae.
Activated sludge wastewater treatment is most effective at preventing the discharge of musk chemicals from waste water treatment plants.
In a water treatment plant, ozonation can break down musk chemicals.

By the way, Echo columnist Gary Wilson was prominent in the coverage of Great Lakes Week since he was a guest commentator for the Detroit public television station that organized the online web streaming.
A Lake Erie Microcystis algae bloom is moving towards Cleveland: http://www.wtam.com/cc-common/news/sect ... le=9248781
Another angle on the algae bloom: the City of Toledo spent an additional $3,000 to $4,000 daily to protect the city water supply: http://www.freep.com/article/20111013/N ... -Lake-Erie
Kind of interesting: although the Duluth and Superior papers had articles from Great Lakes Week that were pretty easy to find on their websites, I couldn’t find articles from the UP (TV6 had an article on crop circles, though) or Canadian North Shore (although the Chronicle Journal had an article about a Lakehead researcher getting a grant on how insects are perceived in Canadian society).


The same week that GLAD announced their good news/bad news findings about mercury in the Great Lakes, the following things happened in Washington:

Twenty-five states, including Michigan, filed an amicus brief seeking to move EPA’s legal deadline to issue the final “maximum achievable control technology” rule for coal fired power plants ahead to Nov. 16, 2012: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2 ... ule-delay-
The House of Representatives passed a bill to delay Environmental Protection Agency limits on pollutants from industrial coal fired boilers. The bill would push back the rules for 15 months and give utilities another five years to comply: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/ ... edType=RSS

And last week, the House voted to impose a 15-month delay on Environmental Protection Agency regulations designed to reduce emissions for Portland cement manufacturing, including mercury emissions. Like the coal fired boiler bill, it is likely to not pass the Senate: http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/congre ... 03286.html

Quote of the Week

“We’re still acting as if it’s perfectly OK to use this thin-shelled atmosphere as an open sewer. It’s not OK. We need to listen to the scientists. We need to use the tried and true method of using the best evidence, debating and discussing it, but not pretending that facts are not facts.” – Al Gore at Great Lakes Week
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