Monday, June 30, 2008

"Detroit To Stop Using Incinerator"

According to the Detroit News "Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said today in a statement that Detroit won't buy the city incinerator, and instead will expand recycling and pay to landfill city refuse."

Detroit News Article: Detroit To Stop Using Incinerator

How Much Do We Value the Great Lakes?

A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel series examines the high cost of ocean freighters on the Great Lakes. A 2005 study by the Joyce Foundation finds that the public only saves $55 million by allowing ocean vessels to use the Great Lakes, while the steady influx of invader species from the foreign ships are wreaking havoc on Lake Huron in a way that scientists thought unimaginable a few years ago.

GREAT LAKES, GREAT PERIL: A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Exclusive

Editorial: Close the Seaway

Friday, June 27, 2008

The decision on whether or not to close the Detroit Incinerator to be made on Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Free Press video series

From the Ecology Center:

The City of Detroit currently faces a historic deadline of July 1, 2008 to close the largest trash incinerator in the world. The incinerator burns nearly 800,000 tons of trash per year currently at a cost of over $170 per ton to Detroit residents (5-7 times the cost of suburbs that recycle and landfill). Hazardous air pollutants from the facility include mercury, lead and dioxins. Asthma hospitalization rates in Detroit are 3-4 times the average rate of the state of Michigan. In addition to these staggering figures, Detroit is the only city of the 30 largest cities in the United States without any form of curbside recycling.

In 2005, the Detroit Incinerator was the 5th largest stationary source of Nitrogen Oxides, which is a critical component of smog (ground-level ozone). Wayne County is currently in violation of USEPA health standards for smog and soot (particulate matter). Hazardous air pollutants from the facility include mercury, lead and dioxins. Asthma hospitalization rates
in Detroit are 3-4 times the average rate of the state of Michigan. Both smog and soot contribute to and aggravate asthma.

Trash is an inefficient fuel for generating steam and electricity, creating more global warming carbon dioxide per unit of energy than any other fuel. Recycling will create far less pollution, save more energy than the facility produces, and bring the potential for many more jobs in recycling based manufacturing. The current system binds the City
financially and legally to incinerate waste with prohibitive barriers to recycling.

A broad coalition of community organizations- environmental, civil rights, health, labor, faith-based and social service advocates- have proposed a New Business Model for Solid Waste Management in Detroit, which has been endorsed and supported by the Detroit City Council by a 6-2 majority. This plan would implement a curbside recycling pilot program by January 1, 2009 and close the incinerator at the end of its current contracts on June 30, 2009. Closing the facility must include a funded plan to assist every displaced worker in finding a similar job at similar compensation.

The administration of Mayor Kilpatrick has agreed to a smaller pilot curbside recycling program, but appears opposed to ending incineration, which means there will not be significant recycling. The operations of the facility are overseen by the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority (GDRRA). Board members are appointees of the Mayor of Detroit.

Stop Trashing the Climate Incineration Report

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recent Record Floods Contribute to Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

A recent updated report is available on the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone." Every year sewage and fertilizer runoff creates dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. This year's record flooding is creating a much larger dead zone. The recent updated EPA Science Advisory Board Report aims to limit the mount of fertilizer runoff and urban runoff coming from the Mississippi river.

ENS Story: 2008 Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Could Be Largest Ever

Farm runoff creates ‘dead zones’ offshore, but no national authority is tasked to address them.

Revised EPA Science Advisory Board Report: Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Website

Editorial: Recent Climate Report Predicts More Severe Weather

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research released a report yesterday that forecasts more drought, hurricanes and severe weather. One could make an argument that we are already seeing these effects with the recent flooding of Cedar Rapids Iowa as well as the droughts in California, Georgia, and Australia.

What does this mean for the midwest states?

Lake levels are already taking a hit. Though Lake Superior has rebounded to normal levels due to a wet spring Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are down. The lack of winter ice causes more evaporation of the lakes.

But experts are forecasting more severe weather, this sounds like maybe it would help water levels but the major problem with that is the toll it will take on water quality. Every time we get heavy rains the sewer systems get overloaded and it washes large amounts of raw sewage into our waterways. This is where the E.coli comes from and why beaches get closed down. At the very worst these may contribute to large dead zones within the lakes.

The good news is that throughout the region public forums and newspaper editorials are bringing this issue into the consciousness of people. That is the first step, educating the masses and explaining the problem. With bipartisan and public support we can begin to effectively combat these issues and keep our lakes great.

Global Warming Report

Sciencedaily Story: Global Warming Likely to Fuel Severe Weather

Iowa-Like Floods to Increase With Global Warming