36 Against a Weak Ballast Water Permit, Michigan Green Schools & Landfills Filling Up

The Delta College Q-90.1 FM Environment Report, heard Fridays at 9 a.m. as part of the award-winning Friday Edition segment.

The report for Feb. 24, 2012:

More Green Schools 

Schools in Bay County are encouraged to become part of a Michigan Green Schools project.

In 2006, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the “Michigan Green School Act.” The law grants a “Michigan Green School” designation to any public or private school in in the state that meets certain criteria.

To become a Michigan Green School, a school must achieve 10 of 20 possible points for environmental and energy-saving measures in an academic year.

There are currently four designated Green Schools in Bay County:

  • Bangor West Elementary School;
  • Christa McAuliffe Middle School;
  • Lincoln Elementary; and,
  • Pinconning High and Middle Schools.

The Bay County Environmental Affairs and Community Development Department is serving as the clearinghouse for all schools in Bay County under the project. The application deadline for this year is March 1.

Blasting Weak Ballast Standards

Dozens of environmental and conservation groups say a proposed federal ballast water permit to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes is too weak.

Comments were due this week to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a proposed permit to regulate ballast water discharges from commercial vessels.

Conservation groups assert that the permit still leaves the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters vulnerable to the introduction and spread of invasive species—and does not adhere to the Clean Water Act. Invasive species already established in the lakes via ballast water discharge include aebra mussels, spiny water fleas and round gobies.

The groups are asking the EPA to

  • Adopt a zero-discharge standard for invasive species;
  • Adopt the most protective technology standards nationwide;
  • Adopt standards for lakers, or ships that stay within the basin; and,
  • Develop a faster implementation timeline to implement new technology standards.

A coalition of 36 groups teamed up to  submit comments on the proposal. Their comments say the permit, as written,  leaves the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters vulnerable to the further introduction and spread of invasive species, and does not adhere to standards of the Clean Water Act.

The groups submitting the comments include

  • the Alliance for the Great Lakes;
  • Great Lakes United;
  • the National Wildlife Federation;
  • Natural Resources Defense Council; and,
  • the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.

The EPA is due to issue a final permit by Nov. 30.

24 Years Left

Do you need another reason to recycle?

photo michigan landfill report imported trash
Via Michigan landfill report, DEQ

Michigan landfills have about 24 years of disposal capacity left, according to a state report.

The Department of Environmental Quality report (pdf) says the volume of solid waste sent to landfills in the state dropped by about 1 percent in 2011.

Waste disposed of by Michigan residents and businesses increased by about 3 percent. Waste imported from other states and Canada decreased by about 13 percent.

DEQ officials say they expect Canadian waste volumes will continue to decrease during the next year under a commitment from the province of Ontario.

Still, Canada remains the largest source of waste imports into Michigan, accounting for more than 15 percent of all waste disposed of in Michigan landfills.

Next to Canada, the most out-of-state waste into Michigan comes from Ohio and Indiana.

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