MADISON, Wis. — More than $375 billion in cargo — iron ore, coal, cement, stone, grain and more — has flowed between Great Lakes ports and foreign nations since 1959. That is when Queen Elizabeth and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower christened the St. Lawrence Seaway, heralding it as an engineering marvel. But that series of locks, dams and channels connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean also carved a pathway for foreign plants and animals to wreak billions of dollars in ecological damage to the lakes. At least 80 invasive species have arrived in the ballast water that transatlantic ships take in and discharge for balance. The round goby, which came from the Black and Caspian seas in the 1990s, gobbles up food some native fish depend upon. So do European zebra and quagga mussels, which also damage docks and boats and clog pipes and machinery, costing the Great Lakes region an estimated $500 million each year. More than 20 years of federal and state efforts … [Read more...] about Great Lakes freighters may have to treat ballast water
Rough water on lake superior
When Amy Klobuchar launched her presidential campaign on a snowy February day in Minneapolis, she began by telling her family story. The daughter of a teacher and a journalist. The first woman from Minnesota elected to the U.S. Senate. But to start, Klobuchar said: “I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner.” Her roots in Minnesota’s Iron Range and longstanding alliance with the iron mining industry have been hallmarks of Klobuchar’s political identity since she first ran for office. They’re also important to her presidential run as a “Heartland” Democrat who can appeal to rural white voters who swung to President Donald Trump in 2016. Yet as the new — and more environmentally risky — copper-nickel mining industry emerges on the Iron Range and promises a jolt to the mining economy, Klobuchar’s views have remained something of a mystery. After 15 years of public scrutiny, people for and against mining seem … [Read more...] about What is Amy Klobuchar’s stance on copper-nickel mining?
Sarah Rahal The Detroit News Published 12:25 AM EST Feb 18, 2019 Detroit — News that water levels on some of the Great Lakes are expected to be at record highs was greeted with cheers and at least one plea for less rain Sunday at an annual boat show in Detroit. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reported that Lake Superior already is near record-high levels and by May could reach a record set in the mid-1980s. Lake Erie could reach record high in late spring, according to the recent six-month forecast report by the Corps. That's good news for boaters. For others who live near the shoreline, the prospect of high levels is worrisome. “Anyone who has been praying for rain should stop praying — stop — we have enough,” said Amy Crouchman, general manager of Toledo Beach Marina, which leases out 550 slips to boaters. The Corps found that Lake Superior is just 2 inches below its record-high February level and Lake Erie is 7 … [Read more...] about Great Lakes level forecasts draw concern and cheers
John Carlisle Detroit Free Press Published 8:03 AM EST Dec 24, 2018 KEWEENAW PENINSULA – The view from Tom Chobanian’s house is a thick wall of trees. It wasn’t always, though. “There used to be nothing but whorehouses here,” said the wiry 29-year-old, pointing into the woods, recounting family memories. “This used to have 600 people. They had their bars right here, and, right here, there used to be nothing but wood stacked up. Lumber." Chobanian lives in Donken, an Upper Peninsula town that isn’t really a town anymore. More than a century ago, the Case Lumber Mill stood here, and a whole town was built around it, named by the mill owner for his sons — Donald and Kenneth. It had a schoolhouse, a post office, a company store, a main street and, according to local lore, a few places where lumberjacks could unwind and get wild. But decades after the mill closed, Donken slowly vanished. Now it's just a brief interruption in a … [Read more...] about For select few in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a ghost town is home
The federal government’s newly released climate change report outlines the devastating effects rising temperatures are expected to unleash on the United States in coming years. More wildfires out west and a shrinking economy are just two byproducts of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions forecast by scientists and a large group of agencies within President Donald Trump’s administration. But more locally, the report also spells troubles for Minnesota and its surrounding states. Based on extensive research, the government predicts global warming to present threats to human health and infrastructure in the region, as well as to some of the state’s most important crops, animals and ecosystems. While many of the findings are not a surprise to those who have studied global warming, the report, mandated by Congress and based on more than 1,000 previous studies, reinforces the findings of other scientists and governments worldwide and makes specific forecasts for regions of … [Read more...] about What the Trump administration climate report says about the Midwest