Ben Thorp

Energy task force discusses upcoming plans

11 hours ago

MARQUETTE, MI (MPRN)--   The UP Energy Task Force held its first meeting in Marquette this week to discuss energy needs in the Upper Peninsula.

At the meeting the 19-member board discussed what it hoped to tackle over the coming months.

Mike Prusi is with the Governor’s Northern Michigan Office. He says he’s interested in learning about rates.

“How did the UP end up with such disparate utility rates? Why do we pay more than pretty much anywhere else in the country?” he said.

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   Attorney General Dana Nessel is seeking legal experts to advise the state on pursuing legal action on opioids and on PFAS chemicals that are being found in water around Michigan. 

In a statement Nessel said that “manufactured chemicals -- both opioids and PFAS -- are having a devastating effect on our residents.”

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokesperson for the Attorney General. She says they are looking for experts to aid with investigations and possible legal action.

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   A new report shows three times as many PFAS contamination sites across the country than was previously reported.

The report, from the Environmental Working Group, found roughly 610 PFAS contaminated sites across the country.

In July of 2018 the group reported 172 sites. Researchers say the new report drew from a new source - meaning the data isn’t directly comparable.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of chemicals that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems including cancer.

Bill would let MI schools start before Labor Day

Apr 16, 2019

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   A new bill in the state house would allow school districts to start the school year before Labor Day. 

Since 2005 school districts have been required to start after Labor Day, unless they get a waiver from the state.

Republican State Representative Steve Johnson introduced the legislation. He says, especially with the growing number of snow days districts have had to take, it makes sense to allow schools to decide when they should start the year.

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   New research out of the University of Michigan finds restricting tobacco sales to people under 21 could keep 11,000 Michiganders from starting the habit over the next five years. 

Legislation is already in the state House to raise the age at which people can buy tobacco products.

Dr. Holly Jarman worked on the study. She says reducing the number of smokers will have major health benefits for the state.

MT. PLEASANT, MI--   The Coast Guard says there is no timeline set for the release of a report on the anchor strike last year on the Line 5 pipeline.

The Straits of Mackinac Alliance is a coalition of concerned citizens living along the coastline of the Straits. It’s calling on the Coast Guard to release the anchor strike report.

The group says there needs to be transparency around the incident and the Coast Guard’s response.

Ross Hammersley is an Attorney Representing the Alliance. He says the report could show how prepared the Coast Guard is for a Line 5 spill.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The plan to place the Line 5 pipeline in an underground tunnel beneath the straits of Mackinac is currently in limbo. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has told state agencies to halt work on the tunnel project following a ruling from the Attorney General that the statute behind the project is unconstitutional.

The move met resistance from Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. He says a suit against the decision could be brought by the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, which was set to oversee the tunnel.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A national environmental group is calling on Michigan to set the lowest standard in the nation for perfluoroalkyl substances.

The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report calling on Michigan to lead the country in addressing perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

PFAS are a class of chemicals that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems including cancer.

Governor Whitemer has tasked the Michigan’s PFAS Action Response Team to set a statewide standard by October 1st.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A new bill package in the state legislature would lower the legal threshold for drunk driving.

Currently, drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 are considered to be intoxicated. Under bills in the state House that would become .05.

Democratic State Representative Abdullah Hammoud introduced the legislation. He says research shows driving at .05 is drunk driving.

DETROIT, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Attorney General is advising people to take action to see if they were impacted by a data breach of Detroit-based Wolverine Solutions Group. 

The breach may have compromised the information of over 600,000 Michigan residents, including customers of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Alliance Plan, and McLaren Health Care, among others.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokesperson for the Attorney General. She says information including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth may have been accessed.