Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy

LANSING, MI (AP)--   A former state employee has been charged with embezzlement after investigators discovered that he stole more than $855,000 paid by well owners who needed permits.

Authorities say the figure likely reached $1.5 million, but the statute of limitations has run out on some of Joseph Pettit’s alleged acts. Pettit worked at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

DICKINSON COUNTY, MI--   A portion of U.P. roadway that uses pieces of old rubber tires has performed well over the past two years.

The project focused on a stretch of County Road 607 in Dickinson County. In 2019 three 3,300-foot sections were paved: one section with conventional asphalt, one with half engineered crumb rubber and another with rubber in the base and top layers.

LANSING, MI--  The following is a press release from EGLE:

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced today that it has approved Enbridge Energy’s application for certain permits required to build a utility tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

MARQUETTE, MI--   Environmental officials have responded to the lower harbor breakwall in Marquette after a tugboat sank in 26 feet of water Friday.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie was notified of the submerged vessel around 11:40 a.m. The 30-foot tug was coming into the lower harbor when it lost power and was bashed repeatedly into the rocks. Two people onboard got off the boat without incident.

Tom Young

MENOMINEE, MI--   The lower Menominee River has been removed from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern. 

A three-mile section of the river was contaminated with arsenic, paint sludge, coal tar, heavy metal, petroleum, and PCBs.

Liesl Clark is director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. She says it’s taken a 35-year partnership between her department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to reach this milestone.

EGLE

GLADSTONE, MI--   Officials say a recent fish kill in the Escanaba River was the result of the release of “black liquor” by Verso’s Escanaba Paper Mill.

The kill was reported August 9 along the southern portion of the river at Gladstone. The Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy says prior to the incident the mill reported a ruptured pipe. It released black liquor into the facility’s wastewater treatment system and overwhelmed it, causing an outflow into the river.

Black liquor is a high-strength organic pollutant derived from the breakdown of pulpwood.

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

ESCANABA, MI--   An Upper Peninsula bald eagle launched an airborne attack on a drone operated by a Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) pilot last month, tearing off a propeller and sending the aircraft to the bottom of Lake Michigan. 

The brazen eagle vs. EGLE onslaught took place near Escanaba in Michigan's Upper Peninsula on July 21 when EGLE environmental quality analyst and drone pilot Hunter King was mapping shoreline erosion for use in the agency's efforts to document and help communities cope with high water levels.

GLADSTONE, MI--   The Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy are investigating a fish kill on the Middle Branch of the Escanaba River. 

Reported on Sunday, the incident happened near Gladstone, downstream of Verso Corporation’s Escanaba paper mill. An EGLE official says last week the mill reported a ruptured pipe in the wastewater treatment plant. He says the pipe has been fixed and outflowing water quality is improving.

LANSING, MI--   State Senator Ed McBroom has introduced a bill to allow shoreline property owners to perform certain work above the ordinary high-water mark without a permit. 

The Republican says shoreline erosion issues and concerns have risen along with water levels in recent months. The bill would amend the law to allow dredging, placing sand or soil, and constructing seawalls and other structures without a Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy permit if the work is above the ordinary high-water mark.

MARQUETTE, MI--   Two U.P. school districts are getting money from an initiative that teaches students about Michigan watersheds and the impact people have on them. 

From Students to Stewards aims to give students access to place-based, water-focused education.

The Copper Country Intermediate School District is getting $10,000 to establish a water literacy consortium. The district will also organize a regional summit to identify best practices.

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