Category Archives: Environment News

Trump Welcomes Another Foreign Company to Suck the Life Out of The Great Lakes.


Trump-foxconn
Trump welcomes Foxconn Chair Terry Gou to the White House

Reuters is reporting that Wisconsin is not even projected to break even on a $3 billion incentive package for a proposed LCD screen plant by Taiwan’s Foxconn for at least 25 years, a legislative analysis showed on Tuesday.

Instead Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker was rolled like a Pillsbury Doughboy crescent roll into providing $3 billion in cash incentives and the ability for Foxconn to suck out  million of gallons of clean fresh Lake Michigan water to make cheap LCD TV screens. Foxconn estimates it will initially bring up to 3,000 jobs with the plant. With Wisconsin paying them a $1,000,000 for each job they better prey it pays off.


Foxconn-worker


This Taiwanese-owned LCD manufacturing facility will require loads of water for its production process; up to 7 million gallons a day will be pulled from Lake Michigan. Of the water used only 5 million treated wastewater will return to the lake, the rest lost to evaporation of the pollutive manufacturing process. Lake Michigan is the the source of drinking water for millions of people especially Chicago. 

President Trump welcomed the sucking sound of water being siphoned from our Great Lakes by a Taiwanese company. He hosted Terry Gou Chairman of Foxconn to the White House in July 2017. As part of the announced deal Foxconn would also be exempt from an environmental impact statement and be able to avoid several other environmental protection rules that other companies must comply with.

Back in 2000, a Canadian company named Nova Group sparked outrage across the Great Lakes region when it proposed to withdraw millions of gallons water via container ship from Lake Superior water and sell it in Asia. The US objected and this led Canada to crack down on freshwater exports.  

Canada may consider doing the same here. 


Sources : whitehouse.gov, foxxconn.com, Reuters and others

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Michigan Citizens Object to Allowing the Stealing Of Our Most Precious Resource for Foreign Corporate Profit


Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting.

– Mark Twain 

Water-Pumping-Plant

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ, heard from Michigan residents in a big way. The public opposition to a new proposal from Nestle to double the amount of pure fresh water pumped from Michigan’s sole major aquifer was 80,945 against to 75 in favor.

Nestle, a company based in Switzerland,  can already suck and export up to 250 gallons a minute from a well in Evart, Michigan. Now it wants a new permit that would allow the company to pump 400 gallons of water each minute of the day, 365 days a year. 

The Michigan DEQ got an unprecedented number of public comments on Nestle’s pompous request, that started over two years ago.

But it’s not over. It turns out that the Michigan DEQ is powerless to stop the foreign company proceeding with their plan despite overwhelming opposition. 

“We cant, we don’t have the power to say no arbitrarily. We can’t just say no for reasons that aren’t attached to the law.” said Matt Gamble, the Department of Environmental Quality supervisor who’s coordinating the response effort. 

Looks like legislative bodies will have to step up and lead. We are not hopeful.

Developing


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A Look Back – 2012 Marina’s Scramble as Water Levels Dropped


We tend to focus on the here and now. However its great to step back and take a look at the recent past. Five years ago the entire Great Lakes was witness to low water levels not seen since 1964. Marina’s were dredging, boats were being damaged on shallow reefs not seen a generation and lake shipping was facing hard times.  There was serious concern on how far it would go and what would happen next.  Some credit the winter of 2014 with turning things around. With the lakes frozen over evaporation was minimized and the levels rebounded.  Here is a post from September 2012.


I got a voice mail early Monday morning from Hoy’s Saginaw Bay Marina in Caseville, “Mike, the wind was really blowing last night and we would like to get your sailboat out. It’s bouncing on the bottom.”  It was the last week in September and we usually try to squeeze one or two of the last day-sails in early October. However I had been monitoring the MichiganHuron lake levels an knew that we had a good chance of seeing a record low last seen in 1964. With a four foot draft we had already settled in the thick muck in our slip in August. I imagined our Catalina 27 hung fast and listing in the shallows. I called back, and Pete told me that they were looking to get all the sailboats out. I told him to go ahead and pull her out. I would see him on the weekend.

Low Water at Caseville Harbor

Pulling into the marina Melissa and I were shocked to see the boat yard full of boats on hard dock in late September. Over the week the Hoy’s crew managed to get all of the big Trawlers out and most of the “Sticks”. (Sailboats)  When we rolled in, there were two boats idling in what was left of the narrow channel waiting to be hauled out. We took a walk up toward the break wall of Caseville harbor and noticed the inner most red can channel buoy hard aground just outside the Huron Yacht Club. This is the mark where I drop our speed in order to not make a wake as we enter the inner harbor. We took shots around the break wall and back just outside the HYC which you can see here.


Channel Bouy Aground at Caseville Harbor
Channel Bouy Aground at Caseville Harbor

Caseville Harbor


The Official Account

The US Army Corps of Engineers noted that Lake Michigan-Huron is 12 inches lower than its level of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are down 14, 15, and 10 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior is forecast to drop another 1 inch from its current level, while Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to fall another 2 inches. The Corps noted that as of now Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are below chart datum. They are in record low territory. At this point we are wondering if we will be able to get “Trillium” back into the water next Spring.


Low Water Make Narrow Channel At Caseville Harbor
Low Water Make Narrow Channel At Caseville Harbor

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The End of the 3,000 Mile Beer?


This is a re-post from 2012. At the time focus was on sustainability. The Great Lakes were at there lowest levels in years and that summer we may have had our first shock of climate change. Here is a great guest post talking about one of my favorite topics.


With energy resources becoming the global concern that it is, will beer disappear? First I will answer that with a NO. However, it will be more likely that the beer I drink may be a home brew as opposed to a Molson, Coors, or PBR.

I give you this scenario for globalized worlds need to become local. The reason I pose the need for localization aligning with the effect on beer, because what would the world be without beer.

The way things typically work in the mass production of beer vary but putting things generically will give perspective. Central brewing locations import ingredients. These ingredients are grown typically in a monoculture setting using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers; all of which are distributed with petrol driven machines. Shipping these ingredients trucks, or in some cases planes, are used both using petrol as fuel. Once in the brewing location, energy is used to brew and package the beer; likely this will be from coal or natural gas power. After the final product is created it is shipped by the same means ingredients are imported.  Once in the store it is purchased by the consumer. This excludes the employees who drive vehicles to get to work along the entire scenario.

This look is meant to give an idea about how much oil goes into a bottle or can of beer. The entire world supply of oil can fit into green bay, and half is gone. With the diminishing supplies prices will rise and the price of draft may increase forever.

Being local cuts back hugely on the amount of petroleum used and stimulate local economy. I say start a home-brew revolution, support your local brewers. Nothing brings a community together like enjoying a cold mug of brew with friends, made in your own neighborhood.


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My local brewery in Marquette, Michigan

Blackrocks – http://www.blackrocksbrewery.com/index.html