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May 8th 2015

Weekly News Roundup: Harmful Algal Blooms, Nuclear Waste, and More

In case you missed this past week in Great Lakes conservation news:

The Toledo Blade reports that state regulators and treatment plant operators are unsure how to implement an EPA advisory on microcystins, the toxins produced by harmful algal blooms. The confusion stems from the establishment of two different drinking water standards, one for children and one for adults. Meanwhile, Michigan Radio reports on a partnership between Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and the Department of Agriculture to provide assistance to farmers in reducing the agricultural runoff that can promote the development of toxic algal blooms. And the Chicago Tribune reports that Lake Erie’s frequent algal blooms could facilitate the establishment of Asian carp, a destructive invasive fish that preferentially eats algal blooms.


A Canadian advisory panel has endorsed a controversial nuclear waste disposal plan, reports the Associated Press. The proposed plan calls for low-level waste from nuclear power plants to be buried less than a mile from Lake Huron’s shores.


The Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan legislature is considering a bill to exempt energy companies from rules requiring they disclose information about their energy infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines. Proponents of the bill claim that it will make it more difficult for terrorists to target energy infrastructure, but environmentalists believe that it will help energy companies avoid public accountability.

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May 7th 2015

Coalition Director Speaks at Local Climate Change Forum

This Saturday, Door County, Wis. is hosting a Climate Change Forum. Our campaign director, Todd Ambs will be speaking there about the impacts of climate change on Lake Michigan and steps we can take to protect the lake. You can read more about the forum on their website, or see the full list of speakers in press coverage from the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Follow Todd on Twitter at @ToddAmbs for updates on his work and travels. For general coalition updates, follow us on Twitter at @healthylakes.

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May 4th 2015

Agricultural Secretary Vilsack Announces $235 Million Available in Conservation Funding

On Monday the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $235 million in funding available from the newly created Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The RCPP was created by the 2014 Farm Bill with the goal of increasing conservation projects undertaken by farmers across the United States. Farmers and conservationists in the Great Lakes region can apply for funding under all three possible categories: national, state, or critical conservation area. In 2014, the Great Lakes watershed was named one of eight Critical Conservation Areas—the focus in our region is on projects that will reduce nutrient runoff to prevent toxic algal blooms.


Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015. You can find more information about applying at the RCPP website, here.

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May 4th 2015

Coalition Director Speaks at National River Rally

Todd Ambs, Coalition Campaign Director

Todd Ambs, Coalition Campaign Director

Today is the last day of River Rally, the annual gathering hosted by River Network to tackle problems related to water quality, water access, and water protection. The Coalition’s Campaign Director, Todd Ambs, spoke at River Rally’s opening plenary on May 2 about the importance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Protect Clean Water rule. The rule, which we have written about before, provides critically needed clarity on the extent of the Clean Water Act. Because of two Supreme Court cases, parts of the Clean Water Act that historically protected small rivers and wetlands have become unclear. The Protect Clean Water rule addresses these points of confusion and would provide drinking water protections for 30 million in the Great Lakes region alone.

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April 29th 2015

Action Alert: House Bill Threatens the Clean Water Act

UPDATE: The U.S. House has delayed this vote until later in May. We will let you know when we expect the vote to come up next.

On Friday, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (HR 1732)—a bill that would set back efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps to provide strong Clean Water Act protections around the country. The EPA and Army Corps have proposed the Protect Clean Water rule to clarify the extent of the Clean Water Act and provide protections for small streams and wetlands that more than 30 million people in the eight Great Lakes states rely on for drinking water. The Act requires the EPA and Army Corps to withdraw their proposed rule—which has already been through an extensive stakeholder review process—so that another stakeholder process can be undertaken and another rule written.


We believe that Congress should let the current process finish. Substantial feedback was gathered during the rulemaking process and Congress will also have an opportunity to weigh in once the rule has been finalized under the Congressional Review Act. Please urge your members of Congress to oppose this bad bill.

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  • 2015 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    Looking for information about the Great Lakes Restoration Conference? You can find our most recent conference updates on our conference website. This year the conference will be in Chicago, Ill. on September 29, 30, and October 1. We hope to see you there!  

  • Check out the Latest Update from the Field

    Read our latest field update from Michigan. Ducks Unlimited shares the results of their restoration tour with Congressman Dan Benishek. Learn more.