Michigan Enviro Report: MichENN, Green Mosquito Control & Ballast Water

Stories featured in this week’s Friday Edition on Delta College Q-90.1 FM

1.

They call energy efficiency ‘the low-hanging fruit’ because it costs less to save electricity than it does to create it.

One way to get started is to join the Michigan Energy Efficiency Network. The network was created by the Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates major utilities in the state, including Consumers Energy and DTE Energy.

The network is an online community aimed at helping local governments, schools, businesses and other groups to save energy. The goal is to link people who need energy advice with services and government officials who can provide it.

The site includes information about securing grants for energy efficiency improvements, along with ways to find out about successful projects and cost-cutting measures around the country.

The network is online at MichEEN.org. You can use an existing Facebook or Twitter account to sign in.

Others involved in creating the community include the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth; INgage Networks and Michigan State University.

The address again is MichEEN.org

2.

Controlling mosquitoes is getting greener in Bay County.

Officials say the county’s Mosquito Control agency has been involved in two field trials for a new, organic water treatment project called Natular.

So far, the new larvicide has proven successful in controlling the bugs.

The product has a lower toxicity rate than other mosquito control products, and not as much has to be applied.

The Natular trials conducted in Bay County helped earn the product a green chemistry award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Natular, made by an environmental products and services company called Clarke, is the fifth pesticide to ever receive the EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

Bay County was one of only a few mosquito control districts in the U.S. to run the field trials.

3.

It’s hard to talk about invasive species in the Great Lakes without talking about ballast water.

Ocean-going vessels have been blamed for introducing numerous invasives to the Great Lakes, including the zebra mussel and its cousin, the quagga mussel.

But environmental groups and others say there’s still a need for comprehensive federal rules to stem the flow of foreign creatures to the lakes.

Michigan has standards for ballast water, which require ships coming from the Atlantic Ocean to use treatment techniques when they discharge ballast water at ports.

Supporters, including the Lake Carriers Association, say federal standards would be easier to meet, instead of having to follow state-by-state standards.

But there are still concerns over how a federal standard would be regulated, and that federal standards would apply to freshwater vessels under a court ruling. The issue is being discussed by an EPA advisory board.

The Michigan ballast water standard took effect eight years ago, in 2002.

— Photo via noricum, Flickr

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3 comments

  1. It has been stated by those who favor ballast laws, that do not impose cost on shipping, using the ocean flush, that compliance with the ocean flush has prevented new introductions of invasive s. They talk of requirements equal to drinking water, good idea since our children swim getting water in their mouth, up their nose, etc. Perhaps if compliance is being adhered by the shipping industry, notorious for US tax evasion by registering ships in different countries, they would be willing to drink some of it to save on testing and insure confidence they are continuing to enforce regulations.
    The salt water Flush is known to be affective only for some fresh water problems and it is known that sludge, bio films, cysts, etc, still contain and carry virus and pathogens even if the costly, dangerous, ineffective ocean flush is done without short cuts by foreign sea captains while in US waters. How is compliance in third world countries where there is no infrastructure to test foreign flag ships going to be insured so they do not continue to introduce deadly human disease such as cholera, which is not stopped by an ocean flush?

    Since 2006 there has been quite a bit of scrutiny given to ships ballast water. Foreign sea captains have been more compliant, but without mandatory technology installation, when the hoopla is over the often dangerous, ineffective, costly ocean flush will again be regarded by industry as a cost, and it will again be business as usual.
    Concerns already created in the great lakes should not be mixed through out the lakes. These existing algae problems etc., should and could be contained with mandatory technology installation. The procrastination to equip with technology is about money, not human health and the environment.
    If ballast water technology creates an economic hardship for shipping, perhaps stimulus to the part of the shipping industry that will fly the US flag, not trying to avoid paying US tax, would be in order.

    Lake Pontchartrain should be the wake up call that these systems are capable of delivering other problems for human health and the environment besides living organisms. Chemicals, drugs, nuclear waste water are all reasons the states need comprehensive Federal protection, as the states obviously have been unable to protect themselves.
    The Arctic is historically known as a clandestine dumping ground for governments and industry we have no idea, if as the ice melts, these non living pollutants will be induced into new shipping lanes now opening.

    We need comprehensive Federal law but,
    unfortunately China and South Korea are the largest ship builders in the world competing with each other and environmentalist efforts may be futile, as this administration may not act significantly on a Federal level, because they need China to keep its legacy of involvement in the Korean war caged, it appears South Korea leads in ballast water involvement, which may have created a scenario where this administration is scared and afraid to act, because of upsetting China.
    NY laws are significantly important as they currently are the only way, to force these tax dodgers in the shipping industry, to spend the money required to protect all America’s water forever, equally from invasive s, human bacterial pathogens and virus.

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